This is Saudade

Jared Spears



Withered tree limbs and carved marble,
the Jardim de São Pedro d’Alcântara.

At the barrio’s edge city lights tremble,
night solace smolders stifled and low.

Feel a breeze weave the jacarandas,
loosing a swirl of indigo petals.

Now feel the sadness sway your center,
stomach-cradled and rocking slow.

This is saudade.

It stains these well-worn cobblestones,
having sauntered ivory centuries.

It drapes with the ivy from window-sills,
slumbers with workmen in mid-day shade.

It cracks still with the paint chips,
haunts endless stone stairs,

And lingers in the wake
of the street car’s clang.

Saudade is a song.


Across the rooftops from the barrio,
in the silhouetted hovels of the old alfama
crowning the blue and the castle below,
the moon rises crimson.

The Moorish castle knew saudade;
from those pale pink stones
seep sonorous tones and
sanguine blood hues.

The moon rises crimson,
blood orange and full, as
your heart throbs in step
to an accordion’s tune.

It knows all that you’ve felt,
mocks all that you knew.

The moon sings saudade;
over Lisbon it looms.

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Jared is a writer currently living in London. You can find him on Twitter.

PoetryJeremy Bibaud