“So many gods!”

By Álvaro de Campos Alvaro de Campos

Translated By Richard Zenith Read the translator's notes

So many gods!   
They’re like books—you can’t read everything, you never know anything.   
Happy the man who knows but one god, and keeps him a secret.   
Every day I have different beliefs—
Sometimes in the same day I have different beliefs—
And I wish I were the child now crossing   
The view from my window of the street below.   
He’s eating a cheap pastry (he’s poor) without efficient or final cause,   
An animal uselessly raised above the other vertebrates,   
And through his teeth he sings a ribald show tune . . .   
Yes, there are many gods,   
But I’d give anything to the one who’d take that child out of my sight.   

March 9, 1930

Source: Poetry (April 2009).


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

April 2009


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 Religion, Faith & Doubt, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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