Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ah Margarida / Álvaro de Campos [Pessoa]

Ah Margarida,
If I gave you my life,
What would you do with it?
I'd take my earrings out of hock,
Marry a blind man,
And live on a tree-lined block.


But Margarida,
If I gave you my life,
What would your mother say?
(Her mother knows me inside out.)
She'd say you're a fool,
Without a doubt.


And Margarida,
If I gave you my life
Literally, by dying?
I'd go to your funeral, firmly believing
You'd gone mad
To try to love by not living.


But Margarida,
If this giving of my life to you
Were merely poetry?
In that case, forget it,
The deal's off,
Because I don't sell on credit.


Dictated by the Naval Engineer
Sr. Álvaro de Campos
in a state of alcoholic
unconsciousness.


October 1, 1927

Translated from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith

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