Sunday, June 20, 2010

Poem of the Day: Autopsychography


The poet is a faker
Who's so good at his act
He even fakes the pain
Of pain he feels in fact.

And those who read his words
Will feel in his writing
Neither of the pains he has
But just the one they're missing.

And so around its track
This thing called the heart winds,
A little clockwork train
To entertain our minds.

-- Fernando Pessoa
Trans. Richard Zenith

The link goes to a site where seventeen different versions of Pessoa's "Autopsicografia" (as well as the Portuguese original) are housed, including two separate translations by one translator, as well as a notable version by that redoubtable translator "Google Translate". The Zenith was my favorite, at least on a first read-through; but check out the others -- your taste may vary, after all. (Faithful readers will know how much I like comparing various translations of particular poems.)

Oh, and just in case you've never heard of him, I should mention that, while it may be true that all poets are fakers, Pessoa was more of a faker than most, a strange man who seems to have been a refugee from an unwritten Borges story.

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