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PESSOA, Fernando

Sit under the sun, abdicate, and be your own king.

The Flame of the Spent Hour

Hour by hour the ancient face of repeated

Beings changes, and hour by hour,

Thinking, we get older.

Everything passes, unknown, and the knower

Who remains knows he knows not.

But nothing, Aware or unaware, returns.

Equals, therefore, of what isn’t our equal,

Let us preserve, in the heat we remember,

The flame of the spent hour.

In the winter pale

In the winter pale morning light

Along the pier

Reason gives no hope, no hope of any pity

For my tears.

What has to be

Will be, whatever I believe to be right.

In the rustle of the quay, the bustling stream,

The street as it actuates

There is no more quiet, nothing even empty,

To accompany my wait.

What doesn't have to be

Somewhere will be, if I believe; everything else is a dream.

Depus a mascara e vi me ao espelho

Depus a máscara e vi-me ao espelho. —

Era a criança de há quantos anos.

Não tinha mudado nada...

É essa a vantagem de saber tirar a máscara.

É-se sempre a criança,

O passado que foi

A criança.

Depus a máscara e tornei a pô-la.

Assim é melhor,

Assim sou a máscara.

E volto à personalidade como a um terminus de linha

I took off the mask and saw myself in the mirror –

there was the child, of so many years ago.

Nothing had changed.

That’s the advantage of knowing how to take off the mask.

One is always the child,

the past that was

the child.

I took off the mask and put it on again.

That’s better.

Thus, I am the mask.

And I return to personality as to a station at the end of the line.

Translation: A.S. KLINE

Ik heb het masker afgezet en mezelf in de spiegel gezien -

Het was het kind van zoveel jaar geleden.

Het was helemaal niet veranderd.

Da’s ‘t voordeel van een masker af te kunnen zetten.

Je blijft altijd het kind,

dat in 't verleden

kind is geweest.

Ik heb het masker afgezet en het weer opgezet.

Zo is het beter,

zo ben ik het masker.

En keer ik terug naar mijn persoon* als naar een eindhalte.

Vertaling: Z. DE MEESTER

In This World Where We Forget / (Neste mundo em que esquecemos)

In this world where we forget

we are shadows of who we are,

and the true expressions we form

in that other where, souls, we live,

are here grimaces and signs.

All is night and confusion

that exists among us here:

projections, smoke scattered

from the fire whose glow is hidden

when we look at what life gives.

But one or another, gazing

closely for a moment,

can see in the shifting shadows

the intent in the other world

of the expression that makes them live.

And then they find the meaning

of what here is merely a grimace,

and their intuitive gaze

returns to their body, lost,

imagined, understood.

Shadow of the yearning body,

it pretends it feels the tie

that binds it to the marvellous

truth that hurled it, anxious,

to the floor of space and time.

(Transl. A.S. KLINE)

Like A Mist / Tenho em mim como una bruma

I have in me like a mist

that is and contains nothing

nostalgia for nothing at all,

the desire for something fine.

I am enveloped by it

as if by a fog

and I see the last star glowing

above the stub in my ashtray

I smoked life away. How uncertain

all I saw or read!

And the whole world, a vast open book,

smiles at me in an unknown language.

(Transl. : A.S. KLINE)

Nobody loves another, unless he loves

Ninguém a outro ama, senão que ama

O que de si há nele, ou é suposto.

Nada te pese que não te amem. Sentem-te

Quem és, e és estrangeiro.

Cura de ser quem és, amam-te ou nunca.

Firme contigo, sofrerás avaro

De penas.

Nobody loves another, unless he loves

That which is of himself in the other, or he supposes it so.

Don't let it weigh on you that no one loves you. They sense

Who you are and you are a stranger.

Cure yourself of being who you are, they'll never love you.

Be firm about yourself, you'll suffer avarices

of pain.

O church bell of my village

O church bell of my village,

Each of your plaintive tolls

Filling the calm evening

Rings inside my soul.

And your ringing is so slow,

So as if life made you sad,

That already your first clang

Seems like a repeated sound.

However closely you touch me

When I pass by, always drifting,

You are to me like a dream--

In my soul your ringing is distant.

With every clang you make,

Resounding across the sky,

I feel the past farther away,

I feel nostalgia close by.

translation Richard ZENITH


Não sou nada.

Nunca serei nada.

Não posso querer ser nada.

À parte isso, tenho em mim todos os sonhos do mundo


Chego à janela e vejo a rua com uma nitidez absoluta.
Vejo as lojas, vejo os passeios, vejo os carros que passam,
Vejo os entes vivos vestidos que se cruzam,
Vejo os cães que também existem,
E tudo isto me pesa como uma condenação ao degredo,
E tudo isto é estrangeiro, como tudo.)

The Tobacco Shop

I’m nothing.

I’ll always be nothing.

I can’t want to be something.

But I have in me all the dreams of the world.


I go to the window and see the street with absolute clarity.
I see the shops, I see the sidewalks, I see the passing cars,
I see the clothed living beings who pass each other.
I see the dogs that also exist,
And all of this weighs on me like a sentence of exile,
And all of this is foreign, like everything else.)
Translation Richard ZENITH

Het tabakswinkeltje

Ik ben niets.
Ik zal nooit iets zijn.
Ik kan niet verlangen iets te zijn.
Los daarvan draag ik in mij al de dromen van de wereld.


Ik kom aan het raam en zie uiterst helder de straat
Ik zie de winkels, ik zie de trottoirs, ik zie de voorbijrijdende wagens,

Ik zie de geklede levende wezens die elkaar kruisen,

Ik zie de honden die er ook zijn,

En dit alles kwelt me als een veroordeling tot ballingschap

En dit alles is vreemd zoals alles.)
Vertaling Z. DE MEESTER



Sou um guardador de rebanhos.

O rebanho é os meus pensamentos

E os meus pensamentos são todos sensações.

Penso com os olhos e com os ouvidos

E com as mãos e os pés

E com o nariz e a boca.

Pensar uma flor é vê-la e cheirá-la

E comer um fruto é saber-lhe o sentido.

Por isso quando num dia de calor

Me sinto triste de gozá-lo tanto,

E me deito ao comprido na erva,

E fecho os olhos quentes,

Sinto todo o meu corpo deitado na realidade,

Sei a verdade e sou feliz.


I’m a keeper of sheep.
The sheep are my thoughts
And my thoughts are all sensations.
I think with my eyes and ears.
And with my hands and feet
And with my nose and mouth.

To think a flower is to see it and smell it
And to eat a fruit is to taste its meaning.

That’s why on a hot day
When I ache from enjoying it so much,
And stretch out on the grass
Closing my warm eyes,
I feel my whole body lying full length in reality,
I know the truth and I’m happy.


Ik ben een hoeder van kudden.

De kudde, dat zijn mijn gedachten

en mijn gedachten zijn allemaal gevoelens.

Ik denk met ogen en oren

en met handen en voeten

en met neus en mond.

Zich een bloem indenken is ze zien en ruiken

en een stuk fruit eten is het begrijpen.

Vandaar dat ik, als ik me op een hete dag

droefgeestig voel omdat ik er zo van geniet

en lang neerlig in het gras

en de warme ogen sluit,

heel mijn lichaam voel liggen in de werkelijkheid,

de waarheid ken en gelukkig ben.

( NL vertaling: Z. DE MEESTER)

Ode triunfal
Ó fazendas nas montras! Ó manequins! Ó últimos figurinos!

Ó artigos inúteis que toda a gente quer comprar!

Olá grandes armazéns com várias secções!

Olá anúncios eléctricos que vêm e estão e desaparecem!

Olá tudo com que hoje se constrói, com que hoje se é diferente de ontem!

Eh, cimento armado, beton de cimento, novos processos!

Progressos dos armamentos gloriosamente mortíferos!

Couraças, canhões, metralhadoras, submarinos, aeroplanos!
Ó fábricas, ó laboratórios, ó music-halls, ó Luna-Parks, 
Ó couraçados, ó pontes, ó docas flutuantes -
Na minha mente turbulenta e encandescida 
Possuo-vos como a uma mulher bela, 
Completamente vos possuo como a uma mulher bela que não se ama, 
Que se encontra casualmente e se acha interessantíssima.


Triumphal Ode
O merchandise in showcases! O mannequins! O latest models!
O useless articles everyone wants to buy!
Olá great department stores!
O neon advertisements appearing one after another, only to disappear!
Olá everything with which today constructs itself, with which today becomes different from yesterday!
Eh, reinforced concrete, cement mixer, new processes!
Progress of gloriously deadly armaments!
Armor, cannons, machine-guns, submarines, airplanes!
O factories, O laboratories, O music halls, O amusement parks, O battleships, O bridges, O floating docks--

In my restless, ardent mind

I possess you like a beautiful woman,

I completely possess you like a beautiful woman who isn’t loved

But who fascinates the man who happens to meet her.
Translation Richard ZENITH

O koopwaar in de uitstalramen! O etalagepoppen! O laatste modeplaatjes!
O nutteloze spullen die iedereen wil kopen!
Hallo grootwarenhuizen met allerhande afdelingen!
Hallo lichtreclames die aanfloepen en aanstaan en verdwijnen!
Hallo alles waar mee vandaag gebouwd wordt, waarmee vandaag verschilt van gisteren!
Hé, gewapend beton, cementbeton, nieuwe manieren van bouwen!
Vooruitgang in roemrijk dodelijke wapens!
Pantsers, kanonnen, machinegeweren, duikboten, vliegmachines!

O fabrieken, O labo's, O music-halls, O lunaparken,

O slagschepen, O bruggen, O drijvende dokken –

In mijn onstuimige, vurige geest

Bezit ik jullie zoals een mooie vrouw,

Bezit ik jullie volledig zoals een mooie vrouw waarvan je niet houdt.

Die je toevallig ontmoet en die je zeer boeiend vindt.


NL vertaling: Z. DE MEESTER

Viajar! Perder países !

Viajar! Perder países!

Ser outro constantemente,

Por a alma não ter raízes

De viver de ver somente!

Não pertencer nem a mim!

Ir em frente, ir a seguir

A ausência de ter um fim,

E da ânsia de o conseguir!

Viajar assim é viagem.

Mas faço-o sem ter de meu

Mais que o sonho da passagem.

O resto é só terra e céu

To travel! To change countries!

To travel! To change countries!

To be forever someone else,

With a soul that has no roots,

Living only off what it sees!

To belong not even to me!

To go forward, to follow after

The absence of any goal

And any desire to achieve it!

This is what I call travel.

But there is nothing in it of me

Besides my dream of the journey.

The rest is just land and sky.

Translation Richard ZENITH

Reizen! Landen verliezen!

Reizen! Landen verliezen!

Voortdurend een ander zijn,

Omdat de ziel geen wortels heeft

En leeft alleen om te kijken!

Zelfs niet mezelf toebehoren!

Steeds vooropgaan, lopen achter

Het gemis van een bestemming,

En de angst om die te bereiken!

Zo rondtrekken is een reis op zich.

Maar ik doe’t zonder iets te verkrijgen.

Meer om de droom van de doortocht.

De rest is alleen land en lucht.

NL vertaling: Z. DE MEESTER

Lisbon Revisited (1923)

No, I don’t want anything.

I already said I don’t want anything.

Don’t come to me with conclusions!

Death is the only conclusion.

Don’t offer me aesthetics!

Don’t talk to me of morals!

Take metaphysics away from here!

Don’t try to sell me complete systems, don’t bore me with the breakthroughs

Of science (of science, my God, of science!)—

Of science, of the arts, of modern civilization!

What harm did I ever do to the gods?

If you’ve got the truth, you can keep it!

I’m a technician, but my technique is limited to the technical sphere,

Apart from which I’m crazy, and with every right to be so.

With every right to be so, do you hear?

Leave me alone, for God’s sake!

You want me to be married, futile, predictable and taxable?

You want me to be the opposite of this, the opposite of anything?

If I were someone else, I’d go along with you all.

But since I’m what I am, lay off!

Go to hell without me,

Or let me go there by myself!

Why do we have to go together?
Don’t grab me by the arm!

I don’t like my arm being grabbed. I want to be alone,

I already told you that I can only be alone!

I’m sick of you wanting me to be sociable!

O blue sky—the same one I knew as a child—

Perfect and empty eternal truth!

O gentle, silent, ancestral Tagus,

Tiny truth in which the sky is mirrored!

O sorrow revisited, Lisbon of bygone days today!

You give me nothing, you take nothing from me, you’re nothing I feel is me.

Leave me in peace! I won’t stay long, for I never stay long . . .

And as long as Silence and the Abyss hold off, I want to be alone!

(Translated by Richard Zenith)

Lisbon revisited (1926)
Outra vez te revejo - Lisboa e Tejo e tudo -,

Transeunte inútil de ti e de mim,

Estrangeiro aqui como em toda a parte,

Casual na vida como na alma,

Fantasma a errar em salas de recordações,

Ao ruído dos ratos e das tábuas que rangem

No castelo maldito de ter que viver...

Lisbon revisited (1926)
Once more I see you--Lisbon, the Tagus and the rest--,

A useless onlooker of you and of myself,

A foreigner here like everywhere else,

Incidental in life as in my soul,

A ghost wandering through halls of remembrances

To the sound of rats and creaking floorboards

In the accursed castle of having to live...
Translation Richard ZENITH

Lisbon revisited (1926 )
Nogmaals zie ik je weer – Lissabon, de Taag, alles –

We gaan elkaar vergeefs voorbij.

Hier ben ik een vreemdeling zoals overal elders,

Verzeild in het leven zoals in de ziel,

Een schim dwalend door zalen vol herinneringen,

Met geritsel van ratten en krakende parketten

In de vervloekte burcht van het moeten-leven …

NL vertaling: Z. DE MEESTER

Mar português

Ó mar salgado, quanto do teu sal

São lágrimas de Portugal!

Por te cruzarmos, quantas mães choraram,

Quantos filhos em vão rezaram!
Quantas noivas ficaram por casar

Para que fosses nosso, ó mar!

Valeu a pena? Tudo vale a pena

Se a alma não é pequena.

Quem quere passar além do Bojador

Tem que passar além da dor.

Deus ao mar o perigo e o abismo deu,

Mas nele é que espelhou o céu.

Portuguese Sea

O salty sea, so much of whose salt

Is Portugal’s tears! All the mothers

Who had to weep for us to cross you!

All the sons who prayed in vain!

All the brides-to-be who never

Married for you to be ours, O sea!

Was it worth doing? Everything’s worth doing

If the soul of the doer isn’t small.

Whoever would go beyond the Cape

Must go beyond sorrow.

God placed danger and the abyss in the sea,

But he also made it heaven’s mirror.

Transl. Richard ZENITH

Portugese zee

O zilte zee, hoeveel van je zout

Bevat tranen van Portugal!

Hoeveel moeders weenden toen we je doorkruisten,

Hoeveel zonen baden vergeefs!

Hoeveel aanstaande bruiden bleven achter

Om je de onze te maken, o zee!

Loonde het de moeite? Alles loont de moeite

Als de geest niet bekrompen is.

Wie verder wil varen dan Kaap Bojador

Moet de grens van de pijn overschrijden.

God gaf de zee gevaren en diepten,

Maar in de zee liet hij de hemel weerspiegelen.

NL vertaling: Z. DE MEESTER


Of the gardens of Adonis, Lydia, I love

Most of all those fugitive roses

That on the day they are born,

That very day, must also die.

Eternal, for them, the light of day:

They're born when the sun is already high

And die before Apollo’s course

Across the visible sky is run.

We too, of our lives, must make one day:

We never know, my Lydia, nor want

To know of nights before or after

The little while that we may last.

To be great, be whole: nothing that's you

Should you exaggerate or exclude.

In each thing, be all. Give all you are

In the least you ever do.

The whole moon, because it rides so high,

Is reflected in each pool.

Translated by Edouard RODITI

Vem sentar-te comigo, Lídia

Vem sentar-te comigo, Lídia, à beira do rio.

Sossegadamente fitemos o seu curso e aprendamos

Que a vida passa, e não estamos de mãos enlaçadas.

(Enlacemos as mãos.)

Depois pensemos, crianças adultas, que a vida

Passa e não fica, nada deixa e nunca regressa,

Vai para um mar muito longe, para ao pé do Fado,

Mais longe que os deuses.

Desenlacemos as mãos, porque não vale a pena cansarmo-nos.

Quer gozemos, quer não gozemos, passamos como o rio.

Mais vale saber passar silenciosamente

E sem desassossegos grandes.

Sem amores, nem ódios, nem paixões que levantam a voz,

Nem invejas que dão movimento demais aos olhos,

Nem cuidados, porque se os tivesse o rio sempre correria,

E sempre iria ter ao mar.

Amemo-nos tranquilamente, pensando que podíamos,

Se quiséssemos, trocar beijos e abraços e carícias,

Mas que mais vale estarmos sentados ao pé um do outro

Ouvindo correr o rio e vendo-o.

Colhamos flores, pega tu nelas e deixa-as

No colo, e que o seu perfume suavize o momento —

Este momento em que sossegadamente não cremos em nada,

Pagãos inocentes da decadência.

Ao menos, se for sombra antes, lembrar-te-ás de mim depois

Sem que a minha lembrança te arda ou te fira ou te mova,

Porque nunca enlaçamos as mãos, nem nos beijamos

Nem fomos mais do que crianças.

E se antes do que eu levares o óbolo ao barqueiro sombrio,

Eu nada terei que sofrer ao lembrar-me de ti.

Ser-me-ás suave à memória lembrando-te assim — à beira-rio,

Pagã triste e com flores no regaço.

Come sit by my side, Lydia

Come sit by my side Lydia, on the bank of the river

Calmly let us watch it flow, and learn

That life passes, and we are not holding hands.

(Let us hold hands)

Then let us reflect as grown-up children, that life

Passes and does not stay, leaves nothing, never returns

Goes to a sea far away, near to Fate itself,

Further than the gods.

Let us hold hands no more: why should we tire ourselves?

For our pleasure, for our pain, we pass on like the river.

'Tis better to know how to pass on silently,

With no great disquiet.

With neither loves nor hates, nor passions raising their voice,

Nor envies making the eye rove too restlessly,

Nor cares, for if it knew care, the river would flow no less,

Would still join the sea in the end.

Let us love each other calmly, with the thought that we could,

If we chose, freely kiss and caress and embrace,

But that we do better to be seated side by side

Hearing the river flow, and seeing it.

Let us gather flowers, and do you take some and leave them

In your lap, and let their scent lend sweetness to the moment -

This moment when calmly we believe in nothing,

Innocent pagans of the decadence.

At least, should I first become a shade, you will remember me after,

Though remembered, I may not inflame nor hurt nor disturb you,

For we never hold hands, nor kiss,

Nor were we ever more than children.

And if, before me, you take the obol to the gloomy boatman,

I shall have not cause to suffer when I remember you.

You will be sweet to my memory if I remember you thus, on the river bank,

A sorrowful pagan maid, with flowers in her lap.

Translation: Peter RICKARD

Kom naast mij zitten, Lidia

Kom naast me zitten, Lidia, aan de oever van de rivier.

Laten wij kalm kijken naar haar stromen en leren

Dat het leven voorbijgaat, en wij houden elkaars hand niet vast.

(Laten we mekaars handen vasthouden)

Laten we dan bedenken, als volwassen kinderen, dat het leven

Voorbijgaat en niet blijft, niets nalaat en nooit weerkeert,

Naar een zee gaat ver weg, dichtbij ‘t Noodlot zelf,

Veel verder dan de goden.

Laten we de handen lossen: waarom zouden we onszelf vermoeien?

Of wij vrolijk willen zijn of pijn lijden, wij gaan voorbij als de rivier.

Beter is te weten hoe stil over te gaan,

Zonder grote onrust.

Zonder liefde, haat, of passie die hun stem verheffen,

Zonder afgunst die het oog te rusteloos doet dolen,

Zonder zorgen, want de rivier zou niet minder stromen, als ze zorgen kende,

En nog altijd uitmonden in de zee aan het ende.

Laten wij elkaar kalm beminnen en denken dat wij, als we wilden,

Elkaar openlijk zouden kunnen kussen, strelen en omhelzen,

Maar dat het beter is te blijven zitten naast elkaar,

De rivier te horen stromen en te zien.

Laten wij bloemen plukken, neem er een paar in je hand en leg ze

In je schoot, en laat hun geur het ogenblik verzoeten -

Dit ogenblik waarop wij kalm in niets geloven,

Argeloze heidenen der decadentie.

Althans, mocht ik eerst een schaduw worden, zal jij je mij later herinneren,

Als je je me dan herinnert, mag ik je niet tergen, kwetsen of storen,

Want nooit hielden wij elkaars hand vast, nooit kusten wij elkaar

Nooit waren wij meer dan kinderen.

En mocht, jij, vóór mij, de obool brengen naar de trieste veerman,

Dan zal ik geen reden tot lijden hebben als ik me je herinner.

Zoet zal je in mijn herinnering toeven als ik zo aan je denk, aan de oever van de rivier,

Een bedroefd heidens meisje, met bloemen in haar schoot.…..

Vertaling Z. DE MEESTER

Para ser grande, sê inteiro: nada

Teu exagera ou exclui.

Sê todo em cada coisa. Põe quanto és

No mínimo que fazes.

Assim em cada lago a lua toda

Brilha, porque alta vive.

To be great, be whole: nothing

Of yourself exaggerate or exclude.

Be all in all things. Put what you are

Into the least you do.

So, in every lake the whole moon

Shines and, soaring, lives.

Nothing of nothing remains. We're nothing.

In the sun and air we put off briefly

The unbreathable darkness of damp earth

Who's weight we'll have to bear-

Postponed corpses that procreate.

Laws passed, statues seen, odes finished -

All have their grave. If we, heaps of flesh

Made sanguine by an inner sun,

Must set, then why not they?

We're tales telling tales, nothing....

Nada sou, nada posso, nada sigo.
Trago, por ilusão, meu ser comigo.
Não compreendo compreender, nem sei
Se hei de ser, sendo nada, o que serei.

Fora disto, que é nada, sob o azul
Do lato céu um vento vão do sul
Acorda-me e estremece no verdor.
Ter razão, ter vitória, ter amor

Murcharam na haste morta da ilusão.
Sonhar é nada e não saber é vão.
Dorme na sombra, incerto coração.

I am nothing, I can nothing, I follow nothing.
I carry, like an illusion, my being with me.
I don’t understand understanding, nor do I know
If I have to be, being nothing, what I will be.

Apart from this, that is nothing, under the blue
Of the vast sky a vain Southern wind
Wakes me up and stirs in the greenery.
Being right, being triumphant, being in love,

Withered on the pole of illusion.

To dream is nothing, and to not know is vain.

Sleep in the shadow, uncertain heart.

Ik ben niets, kan niets, volg niets na.

Ik draag mijn zijn, illusie, waar ik ga.

Begrip begrijp ik niet, kan nergens lezen

Of ik zal zijn, niets zijnd, wat ik zal wezen.

Hiernevens, wat niets is, onder ’t azuur

Der wijde hemel, wekt me elk ijdel uur

Een zuidenwind die siddert in het lover.

Gelijk hebben, winnen, in liefde geloven

Zijn aan illusie’s dode mast verstard.

Dromen is niets, niet weten is onnut.

Slaap in de schaduw, o onzeker hart.


O poeta é um fingidor.

Finge tão completamente

Que chega a fingir que é dor

A dor que deveras sente.

E os que lêem o que escreve,

Na dor lida sentem bem,

Não as duas que ele teve,

Mas só a que eles não têm.

E assim nas calhas de roda

Gira, a entreter a razão,

Esse comboio de corda

Que se chama coração


The poet is a man who feigns

And feigns so thoroughly, at last

He manages to feign as pain

The pain he really feels,

And those who read what once he wrote

Feel clearly, in the pain they read,

Neither of the pains he felt,

Only a pain they cannot sense.

And thus, around its jolting track

There runs, to keep our reason busy,

The circling clockwork train of ours

That men agree to call a heart.

Translated by Edouard Roditi


De dichter wendt slechts voor.

Hij veinst, zo door en door

Dat hij zelfs voorwendt pijn te zijn.

Zijn werkelijk gevoelde pijn.

En zij die lezen wat hij schreef

Voelen in de gelezen pijn

Niet de twee die hij geleden heeft,

Maar één slechts die de hunne niet kan zijn.

En zo rijdt op zijn rails in ’t rond,

Tot vermaak van onze rede,

Die opwindtrein, in dichtermond

Ook wel ‘het hart’ geheten.


Dizem que finjo ou minto
Tudo o que escrevo. Não.
Eu simplesmente sinto
Com a imaginação.
Não uso o coração.

Tudo o que sonho ou passo,
O que me falha ou finda,
É como que um terraço
Sobre outra coisa ainda.
Essa coisa que é linda.

Por isso escrevo em meio
Do que não está ao pé,
Livre do meu enleio,
Sério do que não é.
Sentir! Sinta quem lê!


They say I lie or feign

In all I write. Not true.

It's simply that I feel

Via the imagination.

The heart I never use.

All I dream or live,

Whatever fails or dies,

Is no more than a covering

Over some other thing

Where true beauty lies.

That's why I base my writings
On things that are remote
Freed from my reality,
Serious about what isn't.

Feel? That's up to the reader


Men zegt dat ik al wat ik schrijf
Óf veins of lieg. Maar nee.
’t Is enkel dat gevoel bij mij
Is wat ik mij verbeeld.
De hartslag doet niet mee.

Al wat ik doormaak, wat ik droom,
Wat mij ontvalt en mij ontbreekt,
Is als het ware een balkon
Dat op iets anders uitzicht geeft.
Dat and’re is wat schoonheid heeft.

Zo schrijf ik midden in
Wat niet dicht bij mij ligt,
Vrij van gevoel dat bindt,
Ernstig om wat niet leeft.
Voelen? Is voor wie leest!

NL vertalingen Nada sou, Autopsicografia & Isto: August WILLEMSEN

Ode Marítima

Sózinho, no cais deserto, a esta manhã de verão,

Ólho pró lado da barra, ólho pró Indefinido,

Ólho e contenta-me vêr,

Pequeno, negro e claro, um paquete entrando.

Vem muito longe, nítido, clássico à sua maneira.

Deixa no ar distante atrás de si a orla vã do seu fumo.

Vem entrando, e a manhã entra com êle, e no rio,

Aqui, acolá, acorda a vida marítima,

Erguem-se velas, avançam rebocadores,

Surgem barcos pequenos de trás dos navios que estão no porto.

Ha uma vaga brisa.

Mas a minh'alma está com o que vejo menos,

Com o paquete que entra,

Porque êle está com a Distância, com a Manhã,

Com o sentido marítimo desta Hora,

Com a doçura dolorosa que sobe em mim como uma náusea,

Como um começar a enjoar, mas no espírito.

Naval Ode

Alone, on the deserted quay, this summer morning,

I look towards the bar, I look towards the Indefinite,

I look and find pleasure in seeing,

Little, black and clear, a steamer coming in.

It is very far yet, distinct and classic after its own fashion.

It leaves on the distant air behind it the vain curls of its smoke.

It is coming in, and morn comes in with it, and on the river

Here, there, naval life awakes,

Sails arise, tugs advance,

Small boats jut out from behind the ships in the port.

There is a vague breeze.

But my soul is with the things that I see least,

With the in-coming steamer,

Because it is with Distance, with Morn,

With the naval meaning of this Hour,

With the painful softness that rises in me like a qualm,

Like a beginning of sea-sickness, but in my soul.


Ah, every quay is a regret made of stone!

And when the ship leaves the quay

And we note suddenly that a space is widening

Between the quay and the ship,

There comes to me, I know not why, a recent anguish,

A mist of feelings of sadness

That shines in the sun of my mossy anguishes

Like the first window the morning strikes on,

And clings round me like some one else’s remembrance

Which is somehow mysteriously mine.
Ah, the distant beaches, the quays seen from afar,

And then the near beaches and the quays seen from near.

The mystery of each departure and of each arrival,

The painful instability and incomprehensibility

Of this impossible universe

At each naval hour ever more deeply felt right in my skin.

The absurd sob that our souls spill

Over the ever-different tracts of seas with islands afar,

Over the distant lines of the coasts we merely pass by,

Over the clear growing-clear of ports, with their houses and their people,

When the ship nears the land.

Toda a vida marítima! tudo na vida marítima!

Insinua-se no meu sangue toda essa sedução fina

E eu cismo indeterminadamente as viagens.

Ah, as linhas das costas distantes, achatadas pelo horizonte!

Ah, os cabos, as ilhas, as praias areentas!

The seafaring life! All that it embraces and all that it is!

All of its sweet sseduction filters into my blood,

And I daydream indefinitely of voyages.

The distant coastmines, flattened by the horizon!

The capes, islands, and sandy beaches!


Heel het leven op de zeeën! Alles in het leven op de zeeën!

In mijn bloed sluipt

die geniepige bekoring

En ik droom gedachtenloos

van reizen.

O, de lijnen van verre kusten, afgeplat over de horizon!

O, de kapen, eilanden, zandige stranden!

Vertaling : August WILLEMSEN

Não sei quantas almas tenho.

Não sei quantas almas tenho.

Cada momento mudei.

Continuamente me estranho.

Nunca me vi nem achei.

De tanto ser, só tenho alma.

Quem tem alma não tem calma.

Quem vê é só o que vê.

Quem sente não é quem é.

Atento ao que sou e vejo,

Torno-me eles e não eu.

Cada meu sonho ou desejo,

É do que nasce, e não meu.

Sou minha própria paisagem,

Assisto à minha passagem,

Diverso, móbil e só.

Não sei sentir-me onde estou.

Por isso, alheio, vou lendo

Como páginas, meu ser.

O que segue não prevendo,

O que passou a esquecer.

Noto à margem do que li

O que julguei que senti.

Releio e digo, «Fui eu?»

Deus sabe, porque o escreveu.

I don’t know how many souls I have

I don’t know how many souls I have.
I’ve changed at every moment.
I always feel like a stranger.
I’ve never seen or found myself.
From being so much, I have only soul.
A man who has soul has no calm.
A man who sees is just what he sees.
A man who feels is not who he is.

Attentive to what I am and see,
I become them and stop being I.
Each of my dreams and each desire
Belongs to whoever had it, not me.
I am my own landscape,
I watch myself journey -
Various, mobile, and alone.
Here where I am I can’t feel myself.

That’s why I read, as a stranger,
My being as if it were pages.
Not knowing what will come
And forgetting what has passed,
I note in the margin of my reading
What I thought I felt.
Rereading, I wonder: “Was that me?”
God knows, because he wrote it.

Translation: Richard ZENITH

But at least, from my bitterness over what I'll never be,
There remains the hasty writing of these verses,
A broken gateway to the Impossible.
But at least I confer on myself a contempt without tears,
Noble at least in the sweeping gesture by which I fling
The dirty laundry that's me -- with no list -- into the stream of things,
And I stay at home, shirtless.

As long as I feel the full breeze in my hair
And see the sun shining bright on the leaves,
  I will not ask for more.
What better thing could destiny give me
Than the sensual passing of life in moments
  Of ignorance like this?
Where there are roses we plant doubt.
Most of the meaning we glean is our own,
  And forever not knowing, we ponder.
Foreign to us, capacious nature
Unrolls fields, opens flowers, ripens
  Fruits, and death arrives.
I'll only be right, if anyone is right,
When death at last confounds my mind
  And I no longer see,
For we cannot find and should not find
The remote and profound explanation
  For why it is we live.
Wise is the one who does not seek.
The seeker will find in all things

Quando vier a Primavera

Quando vier a Primavera,

Se eu já estiver morto,

As flores florirão da mesma maneira

E as árvores não serão menos verdes que na Primavera passada.

A realidade não precisa de mim.

Sinto uma alegria enorme

Ao pensar que a minha morte não tem importância nenhuma.

Se soubesse que amanhã morria

E a Primavera era depois de amanhã,

Morreria contente, porque ela era depois de amanhã.

Se esse é o seu tempo, quando havia ela de vir senão no seu tempo?

Gosto que tudo seja real e que tudo esteja certo;

E gosto porque assim seria, mesmo que eu não gostasse.

Por isso, se morrer agora, morro contente,

Porque tudo é real e tudo está certo.

Podem rezar latim sobre o meu caixão, se quiserem.

Se quiserem, podem dançar e cantar à roda dele.

Não tenho preferências para quando já não puder ter preferências.

O que for, quando for, é que será o que é.

When spring arrives

When spring arrives,
And I by then should happen to be dead,
The flowers will blossom as before
And the trees be no less green than in spring of last year.

Reality has no need of me.

I sense a tremendous joy

At the thought that my death has no significance whatever.

If I knew I would die tomorrow

And that spring would be there the day after,

I would die content, since it was spring the following day.

If it was time for it, for when else would it come than when it was time?

I relish the fact that all is real and all as it must be;

And relish the fact it would also be so even if I did not relish it.

For all is real and all is as it must be.

Let prayers be said in Latin over my coffin, if so desired.

If so desired, let there be dancing and singing around it.

I have no preferences for when I no longer can have any preferences.

Whatever will be, when it shall be, will be what it is.

Wanneer de lente komt…

Wanneer de lente komt

En als ik dan al dood ben

Zullen de bloemen net zo bloeien

En de bomen zullen niet minder groen zijn dan het vorig voorjaar.

De werkelijkheid heeft mij niet nodig.

Ik voel een enorme vreugde

Bij de gedachte dat mijn dood volstrekt onbelangrijk is

Als ik wist dat ik morgen zou sterven

En het was overmorgen lente,

Zou ik tevreden sterven, omdat het overmorgen lente was.

Als dat haar tijd is, wanneer dan zou ze moeten komen tenzij op haar tijd?

Ik houd ervan dat alles werkelijk is en alles zoals het moet zijn;

Daar houd ik van, omdat het zo zou wezen ook als ik er niet van hield.

Daarom, als ik nu sterf, sterf ik tevreden,

Want alles is werkelijk en alles is zoals het moet zijn.

Men mag Latijn bidden boven mijn kist, indien men wil.

Indien men wil, mag men rondom dansen en zingen.

Ik heb geen voorkeur voor wanneer ik toch geen voorkeur meer kan hebben

Dat wat zal zijn, wanneer het zijn zal, zal het zijn dat wat het is.

Vertaling: August WILLEMSEN

To feel everything in every way,

To live everything from all sides,

To be the same thing in all ways possible at the same time,

To realize in oneself all humanity at all moments

In one scattered, extravagant, complete and aloof moment

Since we do nothing in this confused world

That lasts or that, lasting, is of any worth,

And even what’s useful for us we lose

So soon, with our own lives,

Let us prefer the pleasure of the moment

To an absurd concern with the future...

Translation : Richard ZENITH

Há doenças piores que as doenças

Há doenças piores que as doenças,
Há dores que não doem, nem na alma
Mas que são dolorosas mais que as outras.
Há angústias sonhadas mais reais
Que as que a vida nos traz, há sensações
Sentidas só com imaginá-las
Que são mais nossas do que a própria vida.
Há tanta coisa que, sem existir,
Existe, existe demoradamente,
E demoradamente é nossa e nós...
Por sobre o verde turvo do amplo rio
Os circunflexos brancos das gaivotas...
Por sobre a alma o adejar inútil
Do que não foi, nem pôde ser, e é tudo.

Dá-me mais vinho, porque a vida é nada .

There are sicknesses worse than any sickness;

There are sicknesses worse than any sickness

There are pains that don’t ache, not even in the soul,

And yet they’re more painful than those that do.

There are anxieties from dreams that are more real

Than the ones life brings; there are sensations

Felt only by imagining them

That are more ours than our very own life.

There are countless things that exist

Without existing, that lastingly exist

And lastingly are ours, they’re us...

Over the muddy green of the wide river

The white circumflexes of the seagulls...

Over my soul the useless flutter

Of what never was nor could be, and it’s everything.

Give me more wine, because life is nothing .

Translation Richard ZENITH

Er zijn ziekten erger dan ziekten

Er zijn ziekten erger dan ziekten,
Er zijn pijnen die geen pijn doen, zelfs niet in de ziel,
Maar pijnlijker dan alle andere.
Er zijn gedroomde angsten, werk’lijker
Dan die welke het leven met zich brengt, er zijn gevoelens
Die men voelt alleen door ze te denken
En die meer de onze zijn dan ’t leven zelf.
Er zijn zo vele dingen die, zonder bestaan,
Bestaan, die tergend traag bestaan
En tergend traag de onze zijn, de onze en onszelf...
Boven het troebel groen van de brede rivier
De witte circumflexen van de meeuwen...
Boven de ziel de nutteloze wiekslag
Van wat niet was, ook niet kon zijn, en alles is.

Geef mij nog wat wijn, want het leven is niets.

Vertaling August WILLEMSEN


O night eternal, call me your son

And take me into your arms. I’m a king

Who relinquished, willingly,

My throne of dreams and tedium.

My sword, which dragged my weak arms down,

I surrendered to strong and steady hands,

And in the anteroom I abandoned

My shattered scepter and crown.

My spurs that jingled to no avail

And my useless coat of mail

I left on the cold stone steps.

I took off royalty, body and soul,

And returned to the night so calm, so old,

Like the landscape when the sun sets.

Translation : Richard ZENITH