Sophia de Mello Breyner

Sophia de Mello Breyner was born in Oporto in Northern Portugal in 1919. She became a deputy in the Constituent Assembly after the overthrow of the Salazar regime and is a former president of the Portuguese Writers’ Association. Ruth Fainlight’s collection of poems, This Time of Year and a book of stories, Dr Clock’s Last Case, both appeared this year.

Poem: ‘Writing’

Sophia de Mello Breyner, translated by Ruth Fainlight, 24 November 1994

In Palazzo Mocenigo where he lived alone Lord Byron used every grand room To watch solitude mirror by mirror And the beauty of doors no one passed through

He heard the marine murmurs of silence The lost echoes of steps in far corridors He loved the smooth shine on polished floors Shadows unrolling under high ceilings And though he sat in just one chair Was glad to see the other chairs were...

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