The poet is a faker
Who’s so good at his act
He even fakes the pain
Of pain he feels in fact.
And those who read his words
Will feel in what he wrote
Neither of the pains he has
But just the one they don’t.
Fernando Pessoa was born 125 years ago.
I’ve never known anybody who’s had the crap beaten out of them.
All my aquaintances have been champions in everything.
I, so often shabby, so often swinish, so often vile,
I, so often, unforgivably, a parasite.
Inexcusably filthy I,
Who so often haven’t had the patience to shower,
I, who so often have been ridiculous, absurd,
Who have publicly wiped my feet on etiquette’s tapestry,
Who have been grotesque, paltry, servile, and arrogant,
Who have silently suffered besmirching
And when I haven’t been silent, have been even more ridiculous;
I, who have been a clown for chambermaids,
I, who have felt the winks of stevedores,
I, who have been fiscally embarassed, who have borrowed and forfeited,
I, who when the time for blows arises,
Have recoiled in advance of the possibility of blows;
I who have suffered the anguish of ridiculous little things,
I declare that in all the world I am without par.
Every one I know who speaks to me
Never did a ridiculous thing, never suffered besmirching,
Was never anything but a prince – all of them princes – in life…
If only I could hear another human voice
Confess not sin, but disgrace;
Confess not violence, but cowardice!
No, they’re all The Ideal, to hear them tell it.
Who in this great world will confess to me that even once they were vile?
O princes, my brothers,
God damn it, I’m fed up with semi-gods!
Where are there people in the world?
Am I the only vile and errant one on earth?
Women may not have loved them,
They may have been betrayed – but ridiculous, never!
And I, who have been ridiculous without being betrayed,
How can I speak to my superiors without reeling?
I who have been vile, literally vile,
Vile in the most paltry and infamous meaning of the word.