Sailing on Words


Sailing on Words

Pierre Sotér

Pierre Sotér

Pierre Sotér is a civil engineer (Ph.D.) who was born in Lisbon and lived in Copenhagen for a large part of his professional life. A lover of poetry from an early age, he is now wholly dedicated to his former passion. Pierre Sotér writes in Portuguese and English.

Together with Viktor Tegner, Pierre Sotér founded CARRACK Books with the primary objective of publishing poetry and art books.

Selected excerpts

  Above a million stars above my head,
  below the pile of stones below my feet,
  there are a million ends of the same thread,
  are heard the calls of esses wanting to meet.
  Inside a million beats inside my heart,
  outside the shining blue outside this ship,
  there are a million bits from the same part,
  there is a sea of words, there is a trip.
  Along a million waves towards the Moon,
  and winds filling white sails that fly as birds
  over a million dreams, a single tune,
  this ship goes everywhere, sailing on words.

  Above a million stars above my head,
  there is something . . . above what can be said.

  Sailing on Words
  Cover poem in Sailing on Words and other sonnets

Whatever we choose to describe will be difficult to describe in words. So difficult that it’s common to hear that a picture is worth a thousand words. And emotions are certainly the most difficult thing to describe. They strongly influence our lives, and naturally we feel the need to share them. And poetry is probably the most powerful way to express and reveal our emotions. Therefore, it’s also natural to write a poetry book full of deep emotions. That’s what I tried to do in my second book, EMOTIONS, that was released in 2017 and republished in 2018 in a revised colour edition, with the following cover poem:

  If only my eyes they could talk
  and if my sole heart it could speak,
  maybe side by side we would walk
  along and across what we seek.
  If with burning stars I could chat
  and these dreams of mine were not weak,
  my whole life for love I would bet,
  my soul to this life it would stick.
  And when faraway all restarts,
  again one fine day we will meet
  with deep sweet old feelings, new arts,
  and no need to talk nor to speak.

  Space is not short for the motions,
  but life is lived with emotions.

  No Need to Talk
  Cover Poem in Emotions & Emoções, Poems & Thoughts

I use poetry to write about many other things, not least satire, which was the focus of my third book, IT MAY BE BETTER. But sometimes I simply write about trivial things. Last year, when I was walking along Princes Street in Edinburgh, suddenly my attention was caught by the gargoyles of the Scott Monument and the light of the street lamps. While walking I wrote this simple sonnet, which appears in my first book, DAWN:

  There is a lamp and a gargoyle
  and when I pass they look at me,
  the lamp shows the track in the soil
  and the gargoyle confuses me.
  Sometimes I do not need much light
  for the stars, too, they can guide me,
  though they will never help me fight
  all the gargoyles that frighten me.
  The lamp, sometimes, seems to flicker,
  and the gargoyle to laugh at me,
  each afraid to be the weaker
  and I afraid to be just me.

  When dark and light they get embroiled
  it might be us that will be spoiled.

  A Lamp and a Gargoyle
  in Dawn, Poems & Thoughts

I also like to write about nature and science, particularly mathematics. There is a lot of poetry in numbers, most of it still to be discovered. One day, my son asked me this simple question: how can you change the value of two variables without using a third variable? For those that are familiar with the logic of computing, this is a trivial academic exercise. For those that are not familiar with that world, it may be interesting to think about it anyway. I answered him with a sonnet:

  A God came to me and said:
  I’d like you to make a test,
  if you pass you will be glad,
  I’ll give you a day of rest.
  You have here A and B,
  now try to change their amount
  without any C or D,
  without any magic count.
  God, I wish You a good day,
  please take A as A plus B,
  and do A minus B for B
  and do A minus B for A.

  I’m starting to rest today,
  when it was You didn’t say.

But I’m always back to deep emotions. They have no frontiers and no preferred language. I write mostly in English and Portuguese.
Here is a sonnet in Portuguese, my mother language:

  Nesta imensidão de mar e areia branca
  em que os meus passos se perdem na sequência
  das vagas, abre-se a mente à essência
  do turbilhão que à água espuma arranca.
  Quando na salgada brisa se atravessam
  asas abertas, quais velas enfunadas
  por vendavais de luz em águas encantadas,
  há vidas mais reais, há cristais que dançam.
  Além, no horizonte, renasce a esperança
  de aqui reaparecerem sonhos antigos,
  as coisas verdadeiras, irmãos, amigos,
  os mundos coloridos duma criança.

  Olho e absorvo as ondas que rebentam
  como memórias que as minhas mãos apertam.

  in Emotions & Emoções, Poems & Thoughts