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Thursday, 16 January 2014

Fernando Pessoa: On An Ankle


Odalisque: James Pradier, 1841, marble, height 105 cm (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon)
......A sonnet bearing the imprimatur of the inspector-general and other people of distinction and decency

I had a revelation not from high,
But from below, when thy skirt awhile lifted
Betrayed such promise that I am not gifted
With words that may that view well signify.

And even if my verse that thing would try,
Hard were it, if that word came to be sifted,
To find a word that rude would not have shifted
There from the cold hand of Morality.

The gaze is nought; mere sight no mind hath wrecked.
But oh! sweet lady, beyond what is seen
What things may guess or hint at Disrespect?!

Sacred is not the beauty of a queen...
I from thine ankle did as much suspect
As you from this suspect what I mean.

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935): On An Ankle, 1907 [?], from English Poems, Lisbon, 1921


Fernando Pessoa, age twenty: photographer unknown, c. 1908, from Isabel Murteira França: Fernando Pessoa na Intimitade, Lisbon 1987; image by Sofiapelica, 14 February 2010

Fernando Pessoa, Lisboa. Seen while walking along tram line 28: photo by jaime.silva, 10 May 2007

 Não cites Fernando Pessoa (Lisboa): photo by Ana Gama, 8 March 2012

A photo with Fernando Pessoa, Lisbon.  It is great to seat at Brasilieira with people taking photos with the famous Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa: photo by Antonio Vinigal, 12 March 2013


ACravan said...

This brings to mind (in another context, obviously) the title of that early Hitchcock film, Rich and Strange. It's great to get the day off on the right foot (or ankle) with something rich and strange like this. Researching the poet's lives will obviously take some time. Curtis

tpw said...

He was such an extraordinary character (characters?) & writer, whoever he was. Thanks, Tom.

TC said...

The multiple mysteries of the many identities and characters rolled up into the one whoever-he-was add up to one of the most interesting puzzles in literary history.

But whoever he was and/or whoever they were, he/they constituted a remarkable writer, that much seems certain.

TC said...

Oops nearly forgot -- fancy top drawer congrats to tpw on the publication of his swell new book This Way Out from Hanging Loose.

Who could say no to a book that begins: "I threw my life in the dryer/ and let it spin around like mad..."?

(Can that have been Pessoa's method??)

bill sherman said...

hi, Tom...I did a post on Pessoa (which began as a review of a critical study of his work)on my first "Omoo" blog - (November 28,2005):

bill s.