But the Tobacco Shop owner has come to the door and is standing there.
I look at him with the discomfort of an half-turned head
Compounded by the discomfort of an half-grasping soul.
He shall die and I shall die.
He shall leave his signboard and I shall leave my poems.
His sign will also eventually die, and so will my poems.
Eventually the street where the sign was will die,
And so will the language in which the poems were written.
Then the whirling planet where all of this happened will die.
On other satellites of other systems some semblance of people
Will go on making things like poems and living under things like signs,
Always one thing facing the other,
Always one thing as useless as the other,
Always the impossible as stupid as the real,
Always the mystery of the bottom as true as the shadow of mystery of the top.
Always this thing or always some other, or neither one or the other.
But a man has entered the Tobacco Shop (to buy tobacco?),
And plausible reality suddenly hits me.
I half rise to my feet -energetic, sure of myself, human-
And I will try to write these verses in which I say the opposite.
I light up a cigarette as I think about writing them,
And in that cigarette I savor a freedom from all thoughts.
I follow the smoke as if it were my own trail,
And enjoy, for a sensitive and adequate moment
The liberation from all speculation
And the awareness that metaphysics is a consequence of being sick.
Afterwards I lean back in the chair
And keep smoking.
As long as Destiny allows, I will keep smoking.
(If I married my washwoman's daughter
I might conceivably be happy.)
Given this, I rise and go to the window.
The man has come out of the Tobacco Shop (putting change into his pocket?).
Ah, I know him: he is Esteves without methaphysics.
(The Tobacco Shop owner has come to the door.)
As if by a divine instinct, Esteves turned around and sees me.
He waves hello, I shouted back "Hello there, Esteves!" and the universe
Reconstructs itself to me, without ideals or hope, and the owner of the Tobacco Shop smiles...
Thank you and very well.
Posted by: Arnold Champs Oliver | March 15, 2019 at 06:45 PM
I didn't read all the translation but the first quarter is very wrongly translated:
One should read to:
Não sou nada.
Nunca serei nada.
Não posso querer ser nada.
À parte isso, tenho em mim todos os sonhos do mundo.
I am not nothing
I will never be nothing
I cannot wish to be nothing
Besides that, I have all the dreams in the world within me.
That's how it should be read, you_re welcome.
Posted by: NL | March 02, 2020 at 05:46 PM
Very good. Lovely poem.
Just a note: garret and mansard are not the same thing. The context leaves us the idea he's not up to any sort of change, any risk, any movement. He remains physically inoperative about everything around him - I'd dare to say. Therefore, it may keep staring everything from its mansard, once the garret by definition does not include windows. Well, that's my thesis.
Posted by: Francisco Branquinho | March 26, 2020 at 10:48 AM
Hi, can I use this translation of Tabacaria on my website?
Posted by: Raymond Smith | May 22, 2021 at 04:12 AM