Todas as cartas de amor são
Também escrevi em meu
tempo cartas de amor,
As cartas de amor, se há
Quem me dera no tempo em
A verdade é que hoje
(Todas as palavras esdrúxulas,
de Campos, 21-10-1935
Alle Liebesbriefe sind
Sie wären nicht Liebesbriefe, wären sie nicht
Auch ich schrieb zu meiner Zeit Liebesbriefe,
wie alle anderen,
falls Liebe vorhanden ist,
sind nur die Leute, die niemals
Liebesbriefe geschrieben haben,
Was gäbe ich um die Zeit, in der ich,
ohne es zu bemerken,
Wahr ist, heute sind nur
an diese Liebesbriefe
(Alle Wörter mit dem Akzent auf der drittletzten Silbe
sind wie die Gefühle
von Hause aus
Ó sino da minha aldeia
Ó sino da minha aldeia
E é tão lento o teu soar,
Por mais que me tanjas perto,
A cada pancada tua,
CAMPANA DEL MIO VILLAGGIO
Campana del mio villaggio
Così lento è il tuo suonare,
Per quanto tu sia vicina
Ad ogni rintocco tuo,
più urgente la nostalgia.
Published: 9 October 2012
“[He] never did find out for sure who he was, but thanks to his doubts we can manage to learn a little more about who it is we are”, wrote the Nobel laureate for 1998 José Saramago about his countryman Fernando Pessoa. Pessoa, born in Lisbon in 1888, shared the Modernists’ view of the self as a shifting mosaic of contradictory impulses and devised a series of what he called “heteronyms” to separate and dramatize them. These differ subtly both from pseudonyms and dramatic personae. “A pseudonymic work”, he wrote, “is, except for the name with which it is signed, the work of an author writing as himself; a heteronymic work is by an author writing outside his own personality . . . just as the utterances of some character in a drama would be”. At the same time, as well as being dramatic the heteronymic poem is sincere, “just as what is spoken by King Lear – not Shakespeare, but a creation of his – is sincere”.
Pessoa’s three main poetic heteronyms are Alberto Caeiro, whom he called his “master”, and two very different but equally talented disciples, Álvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis. He even devised elaborate biographies for them: Caeiro was an innocent pastoralist who lived with an aunt in the country on the income of a few small properties, while Reis was a Jesuit-educated doctor forced by his support for the monarchy to move to Brazil. But more revealing are the intellectual distinctions between them, presented sometimes through the comments of one character about another – in his introduction to a collection of Caeiro’s poems, Reis writes “The Keeper of the Flocks acted as the surgical instrument that opened my eyes to seeing” – and sometimes by Pessoa himself. In Os Heterónimos (1917, “Presenting the Heteronyms”), for example, Pessoa made this comparison: “Caeiro has one discipline: things must be felt as they are. Ricardo Reis has another kind of discipline: things must be felt, not only as they are, but also so as to fall in with a certain ideal of classic measure and rule”. In their fundamentally antithetical way, Reis’s rather self-conscious Horatian restraint and Caeiro’s plain-speaking anti-Romanticism do not just dramatize an argument about poetry, they articulate a much deeper and more interesting quarrel with ourselves.
From Four Voices: poems by Fernando Pessoa and his “heteronyms”
Destiny, O Lydia, is my dread. Nothing is sure.
Temo, Lídia, o destino. Nada é certo.
Em qualquer hora pode suceder-nos
O que nos tudo mude.
Fora do conhecido e estranho o passo
Que próprio damos. Graves numes guardam
As lindas do que é uso.
Não somos deuses; cegos, receemos,
E a parca dada vida anteponhamos
À novidade, abismo.
Build no Utopia, Lydia, for the time
Não queiras, Lídia, edificar no espaço
Que figuras futuro, ou prometer-te
Amanhã. Cumpre-te hoje, não esperando.
Tu mesma és tua vida.
Não te destines, que não és futura.
Quem sabe se, entre a taça que esvazias,
E ela de novo enchida, não te a sorte
Interpõe o abismo?
When, O Lydia, our Autumn comes
Quando, Lídia, vier o nosso outono
Translated by Peter Rickard
Mystical poets are sick philosophers,
For mystical poets say that flowers feel
But flowers, if they could feel, would not be flowers,
One has to be ignorant of flowers and stones and rivers
De O Guardador de Rebanhos
hoje quase duas páginas
Translated by Keith Bosely (1988)
(em especial sobre o LIVRO DO DESASSOSSEGO)
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