from Jeremy Osner:
The river of my village does not make one think of anything.My dad sent along a link to a cool new bike path in Lisbon, painted with the words of Fernando Pessoa/Alberto Caeiro's ode to the Tagus. You can follow Vimeo user Abilio Vieira as he pedals the length of the poem. Here is Richard Zenith's translation:
Whoever is on its banks is only on its banks.
The Tagus is more beautiful than the river that flows through my village,
But the Tagus is not more beautiful than the river that flows through my village
Because the Tagus is not the river that flows through my village.
The Tagus has enormous ships,
And for those who see in everything that which isn't there
Its waters are still sailed
By the memory of the carracks.
By the m
The Tagus descends from Spain
And crosses Portugal to pour into the sea.
Everyone knows this.
But few know what the river of my village is called
And where it goes to
And where it comes from.
And so, because it belongs to fewer people,
The river of my village is freer and larger.
The Tagus leads to the world.
Beyond the Tagus there is America
And the fortune of those who find it.
No one ever thought about what's beyond
The river of my village.
The river of my village doesn't make one think of anything.
Whoever is next to it is simply next to it.
I'm a little bit puzzled by one thing: The direction Mr. Vieira is riding is obviously the intended direction for reading the poem; if you were going the other way the words would be backwards and it would be difficult to read. But traveling in this direction, one sees the stanzas of the poem in reverse order, (sort of) as if one were reading up from the bottom of the page -- the order of lines within stanzas is preserved. I wonder what the thinking behind this was. Also, why the mirror-image "s" in "O Tejo desce de Espanha"? Just carelessness?
Update: Mr. Vieira has a blog entry about the bike path. it is the ciclovia do Tejo, running 7 km from Belém to Cais do Sodré along the northern bank of the Tagus.
...I'm finding myself fascinated by this coincidence: The Portuguese which Mr. Zenith translates as "Whoever is next to it is simply next to it" is "Quem está ao pé dele está só ao pé dele" -- the repeated pédele pédele seems just like the perfect text for a bike path...