Cassandra’s Book of Poems

A series of poems written by Cassandra, main character of my novel Beauty and Freedom, after the end of the novel. For those interested in reading the novel and to read the story of the author of these poems, follow the link to Amazon here.  



Beauty and Poetry


Life has no meaning;

Life is full of meaning.


What meaning is there

In this river called Tagus,

In this city dreaming itself Lisbon,

In the shop window advertising

An alleviation of world hunger?


I am the daughter of a rapist.

People often tell me what that means.

They say it means I’m a fighter

(But I’ve never fought for anything)

They say it means I’m a survivor

(But what have I actually survived?)

They say it means I’m empowered to help others

(But if people are beyond helping themselves

All I can offer is pity, not help).


Language is an echo genetically

Perpetuating itself.

What people say meaning is,

Is really what they’ve been

Told meaning is, and that

Doesn’t mean a thing.


I said life is full of meaning

Because we always speak its name.

Recently I’ve taken a vow of silence

And found meaning in everything!


I no longer ask the Tagus

Where it comes from

And where it flows.

I see only its brilliant blue horizons

When it is brilliant blue

Or it’s dress of red-violet sunset

When it is sunset.


I no longer ask the waiter

Who serves me my port

What ambitions he has in life.

I simply ask him for port

Or beer when I feel like beer.


And when I see a derelict house

In the Alfama, I don’t dare protest

Its dereliction, merely admire

Its cracks and obsidian greyness

As if it belonged in star-lit Pompeii.


There is beauty and poetry

In everything I am made to see,

So long as everything is freed

From the Trojan tyranny of meaning.



Sea and River


There is no God

But the God on people’s lips,

In their hearts, the God

That is more sky

Than the sky itself.

And if God is merely

A hope, a desire,

A yearning fleshed out in words

Then I accept him.

But if this God of hearts

Begins to orchestrate my life

– As if I were the fiction

And he the reality –

Then I will shun him

Just as I shun

All the influencers of meaning

Who view life merely

As the long shadow of death.

I came to Lisbon not to gaze

Upon the God of Sao Roque

Nor the darkness-clearing spirit

Of Vasco da Gama.

I came to Lisbon to gaze

Upon the water that is

Both sea and river

And all my thoughts are consumed

Solely by sea and river,

Sea and river.




No Filter


I watch a mosquito’s vertical dance,

The sea faded in the background

And everything is silenced.

Do you hear that?


History has lost its voice.

What are we to do!


History is a voice

But not my own.

History is forced remembering

When forgetting suffices.

How can you know

Who you are

Without history?



The mosquito’s vertical dance

And the sea faded in the background.



The Buzzing of a Bee


The buzzing of a bee

Behind my ears

Sounds like go-karts

Filtered by the distance.


The buzzing of a bee

Behind my ears

Is not a go-kart

Filtered by the distance.


The buzzing of a bee

Behind my ears

Is simply the buzzing of a bee

Behind my ears.


I think.




Beyond this Acropolis


I don’t believe in God

And I don’t believe in Tinder.


God is a contradictory construct

Of conflicting desires imposed

Onto a singular three-letter word.


What I see on Tinder

Is a labyrinth of egoistic ideals

Imposed onto a face I cannot touch.


But even if I were to touch that face

Or see into the eyes of God,

Would I not just feel and see

The construct of desires

And the labyrinth of ideals?


Let me touch and see

The face and eyes

Of he that never existed

Until I touched and saw

Him for the first time.


Leave me enough mystery

So that I could impose on him

Constructs and ideals

I no longer need for myself.

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