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XLIV - Literal translation

I wake at night suddenly,
And my clock occupies the whole night.
I cannot feel/sense/hear Nature outside.
My room is a dark thing with walls vaguely/inderminately white.
Outside there is a quietness as if nothing existed.
Only the clock continues its noise.
And this small thing of gears on my table
Muffles/covers up/smothers the entire existence of earth and sky…
I almost lose/forget myself in thinking what this means,
But I stop short, and feel myself smile in the night with the corners of my mouth,
Because the only thing that my clock symbolises or means
Filling with its smallness the enormous night
Is the curious sensation of filling the enormous night
With its smallness…

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About the translation:
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Alberto Caeiro
Margaret Jull Costa
Original language:

Original poem

About the authors


Alberto Caeiro

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) is Portugal’s great modernist poet. He published almost nothing during his own lifetime, but left...

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Margaret Jull Costa

Margaret Jull Costa has been a translator of Spanish and Portuguese for over twenty years, translating writers such as Ramón de... » Read more


Acordo de noite subitamente,
E o meu relógio ocupa a noite toda.
Não sinto a Natureza lá fora.
O meu quarto é uma coisa escura com paredes vagamente brancas.
Lá fora há um sossego como se nada existisse.
Só o relógio prossegue o seu ruído.
E esta pequena coisa de engrenagens que está em cima da minha mesa
Abafa toda a existência da terra e do céu…
Quase que me perco a pensar o que isto significa,
Mas estaco, e sinto-me sorrir na noite com os cantos da boca,
Porque a única coisa que o meu relógio simboliza ou significa
Enchendo com a sua pequenez a noite enorme
É a curiosa sensação de encher a noite enorme
Com a sua pequenez…


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