Sunday, January 18, 2015

Lisbon Revisited (1923) by Álvaro de Campos / Fernando Pessoa

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
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
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

(Translated by Richard Zenith)

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