“Ah Margarida”

By Álvaro de Campos Alvaro de Campos

Translated By Richard Zenith Read the translator's notes

Ah Margarida,   
If I gave you my life,   
What would you do with it?   
       I’d take my earrings out of hock,
       Marry a blind man,
       And live on a tree-lined block.
         
But Margarida,   
If I gave you my life,   
What would your mother say?   
       (Her mother knows me inside out.)   
       She’d say you’re a fool,
       Without a doubt.

And Margarida,   
If I gave you my life   
Literally, by dying?   
       I’d go to your funeral, firmly believing
       You’d gone mad
       To try to love by not living.
         
But Margarida,   
If this giving of my life to you   
Were merely poetry?   
       In that case, forget it,
       The deal’s off,
       Because I don’t sell on credit.

                        Dictated by the Naval Engineer   
                                    Sr. Álvaro de Campos   
                                    in a state of alcoholic   
                                          unconsciousness.   

Source: Poetry (April 2009).

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This poem originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

April 2009

Biography

Álvaro de Campos's work appeared in Lisbon magazines between 1915 and 1935. Remembered mostly for his poetry, in his own day he was also celebrated—and maligned—for his scathing manifestos, outrageous remarks in interviews, and polemical essays, several of which sharply criticized the opinions of his creator, Fernando Pessoa (1888–1935), Portugal's greatest modernist writer.

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Poems by Álvaro de Campos

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Men & Women, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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