Thursday, November 11, 2004

Fernando Pessoa: Ah, the first minutes...

Ah, the first minutes in cafés of new cities

Ah, the first minutes in cafés of new cities!
The early morning arrivals at docks or at stations
Full of a tranquil and luminous silence!
The first pedestrians on the streets of a just-reached city,
And the special sound of time's passing when we travel...

The buses or streetcars or automobiles...
The novel look of streets in novel countries...
The peace they seem to offer for our sorrow,
The happy bustle they have for our sadness,
Their absence of monotony for our wearied heart!
The large, dependably right-angled squares,
The streets with rows of buildings that converge in the distance,
The cross streets with unexpected things of interest,
And in all of this, like something that floods without ever overflowing,
Motion, motion,
Swift-colored human things that passes and remains...

The ports with their unmoving ships,
Intensely unmoving ships,
And small boats close by, waiting...

Álvaro de Campos (Fernando Pessoa & Co, Grove Press, New York, 1998)
(translated from the Portuguese by Richard Zenith)