Fernando Pessoa #05 – Lisbon With Its Houses

Using his hometown as the main image of the poem, Pessoa here touches on the feeling of nostalgia which arises out of insomnia: “I want to imagine anything, & something else always comes up”. In our modern vocabulary, we might say that he suffers from anxiety, but, what does this really mean? Might this not just be a way to bury a profound act of consciousness under the sod of a clinic definition?

Libson with its houses...

The speaker wants to go to sleep, but can’t because there is always another image, another sound, another thought to be contemplated; another feeling, another memory, another sensation to be perceived. Insomnia, in this sense, points toward a heightened state of awareness, a continual peeling off of the self from itself (i.e. Sartre’s being-for-itself) which aims with all its might at sleep, here a symbol for a kind of being that simply “is” or that “is and is nothing else”.

Lisboa com suas casas

Lisboa com suas casas
De várias cores,
Lisboa com suas casas
De várias cores,
Lisboa com suas casas
De várias cores…
À força de diferente, isto é monótono,
Como, à força de sentir, fico só a pensar.

Se, de noite, deitado mas disperto
Na lucidez inútil de não poder dormir,
Quero imaginar qualquer coisa
E surge sempre outra (porque há sono,
E, porque há sono, um bocado de sonho),
Quero alongar a vista com que imagino
Por grandes palmares fantásticos,
Mas não vejo mais,
Contra uma espécie de lado de dentro de pálpebras,
Que Lisboa com suas casas
De várias cores.

Sorrio, porque, aqui, deitado, é outra cosa.
À força de monótono, ‘é diferente.
E, à força de ser eu, durmo e esqueço que existo.
Fico só, sem mim, que esqueci porque durmo,
Lisboa com suas casas
De várias cores.

This entry was posted in Álvaro de Campos, Fernando Pessoa, Trans. from Portuguese. Bookmark the permalink.

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