Friday, 4 April 2014

Day 4: 'XLIV' by Alberto Caeiro



Today's translation is a response to an open invitation from the reliably marvellous Modern Poetry in Translation magazine. They post a poem with a literal translation on their site, and invite translations of it. The current poem is by Alberto Caeiro (one of the many pen names of Fernando Pessoa). I have just submitted my translation to them, and I'm not sure how it's going to turn out, as I think the formatting might pose some problems...
All the evocations of time and space made me want to try to represent that through the form of my translation. The line "Pondering the meaning of it I almost lose myself" was initially in the form of a circle (as though going round in circles..also to represent the clock), but I haven't worked out how to reproduce that here!

XLIV


SuddenlyIwakeatnight
                        to my CLOCK
                                                f i l l i n g  a l l  t h e  n i g h t s p a c e



sounds of Nature





room dark

walls (white?)


a silence

of nothing

existing

                                                            \                       \                       \
                                                the      sound of the clock             goes    on

                                                and this little assembly of gears on my table
                                               
                                                muffles all existence of earth and sky


Pondering the meaning of it I almost lose myselfbut stop short


                                                                        feeling the nightsmile
                                                                        at the corners of my mouth

            – for all my clock        means/signifies/symbolises
                        (filling with its smallness the vast night)
is the strange sensation of
                         filling the vast night
                                    with its smallness
                                               

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