Bibliotherapy

Fernando Pessoa – ‘Gomes Leal’, A Poem

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Last known picture of Fernando Pessoa,

taken on February 1st 1935

by Augusto Ferreira Gomez.

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Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, is a poem by Fernando Pessoa. Our Via-HYGEIA English translation is crafted after the French translation from the original Portuguese made by Maria Antonia Camara Manuel and Patrick Quillier, in Fernando Pessoa, ‘Poèmes ésotériques, ‘Message’ & ‘The Sailor’’, page 27, Christian Bourgois Editeur, Paris, 1988. Robert Bréchon writes in his foreword: ‘… The sonnet called ‘Gomes Leal’ (the name of a Portuguese mystical poet, who dies in 1921, and is considered ‘cursed’) substitute for the first time to the poetical imagery of Pessoa’s early manner, a symbolic code with alchemical references.’ This poem introduces a little ‘Antonio Gomes Leal cycle’ coming soon 🙂

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Gomes Leal é um grande poeta. Mas é o pior grande poeta que conhecemos.’ Fernando Pessoa.

(‘Gomes Leal is a great poet. But he is the worst great poet we know’.)

‘António Gomes Leal’, a drawing from the collection of Joaquim Evonio.

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English Translation

Bleak, the pale luminary to its mysteries consecrate a chosen few.

It’s three immutable rings are: disgrace, bitterness and loneliness.

Eight baneful moons stare down from space.

 

This poet, Apollo placed on Saturn’s lap

And the leaden hand raised upon the heights its afflicted heart,

Then, up there,  jaded, squeezed it bleeding.

 

O vanity of the eight moons of insanity

When the triple-belt bears witness and lusters

Loneliness, bitterness and disgrace!

 

But from the endless night gushes a trail,

Relics of malignant splendors: It’s the moon

Who shines beyond God, icy and unrevealed.

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French Translation

Sinistre, l’astre blème à son culte consacre

Quelques élus. Ses trois anneaux irréversibles

Sont malheur, tristesse, solitude. Et huit lunes

Regardent fixement, fatales, dans l’espace.

 

Or, celui-ci, poète, Apollon le remit

Dans les bras de Saturne. Alors la main de plomb

Dressa sur les hauteurs son coeur au désespoir,

Et là-haut, le serra, lassé, ensanglanté.

 

O vanité des huit lunes de la folie

Quand la triple ceinture atteste et fait briller

La solitude, et le malheur, et l’amertume!

 

Mais de la nuit sans fin jaillit une trainée,

Vestiges de splendeurs malignes: c’est la lune

Qui luit par-delà Dieu, glaciale, irrévélée.

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Antonio Gomes Leal at the end of his life. From the collection of Anibal Jose De Matos.

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Original Portuguese

Sagra, sinistro, a alguns o astro baço.
Seus três anéis irreversíveis são
A desgraça, a amargura, a solidão.
Oito luas fatais fitam do espaço.
Este, poeta, Apolo em seu regaço
A Saturno entregou. A plúmbea mão
Lhe ergueu ao alto o aflito coração,
E, erguido, o apertou, sangrando lasso.
Inúteis oito luas da loucura
Quando a cintura tríplice denota
Solidão, e desgraça, e amargura!
Mas da noite sem fim um rastro brota,
Vestígio de maligna formosura:
É a lua além de Deus, álgida e ignota.

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Picture on the cover of Vitorino Nemésio’s edition of Antonio Gomes Leal’s ‘Selected Poems’.

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‘Gomes Leal’, by Fernando Pessoa. Source: First publication in ʺNotíciasʺ Ilustrado, 28 de outubro de 1928, p. 7.

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More about Fernando Pessoa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Pessoa🌿Text source: http://www.pessoadigital.pt/pub/Pessoa_Gomes-Leal 🌿More about Antonio Gomes Leal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/António_Gomes_Leal
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