WORDS WEIGH MORE.

OTHERS NARRATE WITH LYRES OR HARPS
Others narrate with lyres or harps;
  I tell with my thought.
For he finds nothing, who through music
  Finds only what he feels.
Words weigh more which, carefully measured,
  Say that the world exists.
   – Ricardo Reis (the sad epicurean) aka Fernando Pessoa
   Selected Poems, translated by Richard Zenith (original Portuguese below)
(Via wood s lot)


Outros com liras ou com harpas narram,
  Eu com meu pensamento.
Que, por meio de música, acham nada
  Se acham só o que sentem.
Mais pesam as palavras que, medidas,
  Dizem que o mundo existe.
  Poemas de Ricardo Reis (Edição Crítica de Luiz Fagundes Duarte) Lisboa: Imprensa Nacional, Casa da Moeda, 1994.

Comments

  1. ‘in the bamboo forest’ pic reminded me another pic
    i hope you’ll like the songs, my faves are #4,6,9,10,19,21
    i wish i could translate the lyrics, they are great
    and why to dismiss feelings, they are thoughts too, more immediate like, it works perhaps like first sense/feel then process the info and formulate a thought

  2. aggressive dogs says:

    I agree. Written words a lot of weight and are proof of existence.

  3. This is either a prank, or the most sophisticated bot EVER.

  4. This is either a prank, or the most sophisticated bot EVER.

  5. That’s rather speciesist of you. Are you saying dogs can’t appreciate poetry?

  6. Fertile Myrtle says:

    No Wait, what about hamsters.
    Oh to be a hamster, lying in a cage
    Waited on hand and foot, passing the thyme of sage
    Myrtle (not I’m not a turtle)

  7. I just ordered Zenith’s book. I’ve had trouble getting into Pessoa, even though it seems that I should like him,but I liked this poem and I just took a second look at a little selection I have here.
    That often happens: I’ll look at an author several times without finding anything of interest, and then BOOM!
    My receptivity varies widely and unpredictably. Probably everyone’s, but mine more so. I try to give everything 3-4 looks.
    So anyway, thanks, Hat and Woods!

  8. I just ordered Zenith’s book. I’ve had trouble getting into Pessoa, even though it seems that I should like him,but I liked this poem and I just took a second look at a little selection I have here.
    That often happens: I’ll look at an author several times without finding anything of interest, and then BOOM!
    My receptivity varies widely and unpredictably. Probably everyone’s, but mine more so. I try to give everything 3-4 looks.
    So anyway, thanks, Hat and Woods!

  9. I must say, this has been the most surreal spam-thread I’ve ever seen.

  10. SnowLeopard says:

    It appears that spambots are getting perilously close to passing the Turing test. Which is sad, because I’m not sure I could pass it–I already have trouble with captchas. Let me be the first to welcome our new spambot overlords!

  11. reborn dolls says:

    Quite simply: superb. I chuckled to myself after reading that, and you have portrayed the power of words in very few. nice one!

  12. Don’t be fooled by so-called ‘Conrad’, it’s just a bot.

  13. marie-lucie says:

    It seems that there is not just one bot here.

  14. Aren’t we all really bots, if you come down to it?
    (I deleted most of the spam, but left the dogs and dolls in defanged condition.)

  15. I’d like a spam dog, with ketchup and mustard, please.
    (Spam being a ‘processed’ meat-like pink protein available in Britain, both to the very poor and for most of the meals at expensive private schools. Deep-fried spam is a quick British way to put on weight while increasing the level of your ‘bad’ cholesterol.)

  16. Spam was invented and is still produced not 200 miles from the Emerson family estate. I myself have a taste for a related unhealthy canned meat product marketed as “corned beef” (which it is not).

    What is home without Plumtree’s Potted Meat? Incomplete.

  17. Spam was invented and is still produced not 200 miles from the Emerson family estate. I myself have a taste for a related unhealthy canned meat product marketed as “corned beef” (which it is not).

    What is home without Plumtree’s Potted Meat? Incomplete.

  18. The type of corned beef that I like seems to be sold in Britain and Germany.

  19. The type of corned beef that I like seems to be sold in Britain and Germany.

  20. My God, spam is American? I’d no idea.
    I haven’t seen that kind of corned beef for years. Don’t they call it ‘chipped’ beef in the United States? That name has always made me feel doubtful about using those things called ‘wood chippers’: wood, beef, fingers, do they really care what’s in the can?

  21. I haven’t seen that kind of corned beef for years.
    I buy a can every month or two. Mmmmmmm. You poor man.
    But then, you can get surstromming any time you want, you lucky bastard.

  22. I haven’t seen that kind of corned beef for years.
    I buy a can every month or two. Mmmmmmm. You poor man.
    But then, you can get surstromming any time you want, you lucky bastard.

  23. The Wikipedia article on corned beef is quite explanatory.

  24. michael farris says:

    Decided to do my own translation, trying to simultaneously stick a little closer to the original word order and make it a little more natural (for me, ymmv).
    Others with lyres and harps tell stories.
    I do so with my thoughts.
    Those with music will find nothing,
    If they find only what they feel.
    More weight have those words, which measured,
    Tell us the world exists.

  25. Wiki: “Tinned corned beef is a delicacy in Pacific Island countries and is usually brought out for special occasions such as Christmas day. Tins are often used as gifts at weddings, funerals and feasts.”
    You know you ought to get out more, John. Google ‘Weddings and funerals in Tahiti’, have a great vacation and we’ll see you again next month.

  26. marie-lucie says:

    I know only a little bit of Portuguese but was pretty sure that “he” in the middle sentence was wrong in the translation above. I see that MF has corrected it to “those”. There is no reason to think that the (plural) verbs of the second sentence do not have the same subject as the verb in the first sentence, namely outros ‘others’. “Those” or perhaps just “they” has to be supplied in English but is not needed in Portuguese since it is understood from the plural verb ending -am, as in the first sentence (Spanish would work the same way).

  27. Portuguese literature needs more attention. Camoes, Bernardim Ribeiro, Pessoa, and the cantigo d’amigo tradition are all really wonderful. If you know Spanish or French, Portuguese isn’t that hard to figure out.

  28. Portuguese literature needs more attention. Camoes, Bernardim Ribeiro, Pessoa, and the cantigo d’amigo tradition are all really wonderful. If you know Spanish or French, Portuguese isn’t that hard to figure out.

  29. marie-lucie says:

    If you know Spanish or French, Portuguese isn’t that hard to figure out.
    That’s true in writing, especially if you know Spanish. But the pronunciation is not obvious from the writing.

  30. Yes, I’ve found spoken Portuguese pretty much incomprehensible. But lovely to hear!

  31. In fact, I’ve constructed an imaginary Portuguese phonetics for poetry reading purposes.
    Classical Chinese poetry is normally read with erroneous sound values — in fact, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese all have their own different inaccurate systems.
    I’ve spent a moderate amount of time looking at the various reconstructions of the original phometic system, and it’s a horrible can of worms. Karlgren’s reconstruction may still be the default, but half a dozen or more improved systems have been proposed.

  32. In fact, I’ve constructed an imaginary Portuguese phonetics for poetry reading purposes.
    Classical Chinese poetry is normally read with erroneous sound values — in fact, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, and Vietnamese all have their own different inaccurate systems.
    I’ve spent a moderate amount of time looking at the various reconstructions of the original phometic system, and it’s a horrible can of worms. Karlgren’s reconstruction may still be the default, but half a dozen or more improved systems have been proposed.

  33. Ontario says:

    I would love to learn any other language besides french. I have a bit under my belt from being taught in Canadian schools… Portuguese seems so much more foreign to me than Italian or Spanish

  34. Alex Taylor says:

    Very nice. Reminds me a lot of Dylan Thomas.
    Stop Panic Attacks

  35. Yes, I’ve found spoken Portuguese pretty much incomprehensible.
    It sounds a lot like Russian to me.

  36. If medicine could have cured Dylan Thomas’s panic attacks, the world would have been spared a lot of unnecessary poetry.

  37. If medicine could have cured Dylan Thomas’s panic attacks, the world would have been spared a lot of unnecessary poetry.

  38. I thought he cured them with Guinness. They used to have an advertisement in Britain, ‘Guinness is good for you’ — I think it’s true under certain conditions, possibly anemia.

  39. I like Alvaro de Campos’ poem that was on that wiki page in your reference. I think I will use it as a quote my desktop.
    ” I’m nothing.
    I’ll always be nothing.
    I can’t want to be something.
    But I have in me all the dreams of the world.”

  40. Frank Roberson says:

    Portuguese has such a melodic sound, as compared to the staccato sound of Spanish. I can’t say I understand much of it, but it sure has a very soft and wonderful sound.

Speak Your Mind

*