Nocturne is included in Alberto de Lacerda’s first book of poems: 77 Poems. It was published in 1955 by Allen & Unwin. The earliest poems in that book date from his teenage years .The co-translator of the poems was Arthur Waley.
No stars, no moon.
On the glass of a window
Which looks on to the dark night
Runs a hot tear of solitude which fears
That the night will last for ever.
Waley, for his remarkable stature as an orientalist, was known to favour literal meanings, and some complaints about his versions of Alberto de Lacerda’s poems have been registered. But the whole atmosphere of the poem is not betrayed.
About the poet: Alberto de Lacerda (1928-2007) was born on the Island of Mozambique, then a Portuguese domain. He started his literary career in Lisbon while still a student. In 1951 he signed a language announcer contract with the BBC and moved to London where he resided until the end of his life. He earned his living as a poet, critic, lecturer and broadcaster, and won the admiration of such diverse figures as Edith Sitwell, Kenneth Clark, René Char and Octavio Paz. During his lifetime he published 14 collections of poetry and, in spite of his persistent lack of funds, he managed to assemble a remarkable collection of books, manuscripts, musical recordings and works of art. Alberto de Lacerda is buried in London’s Brompton Cemetery.