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Selected Poems

I have a bad cold,
And everyone knows how bad colds
Throw the whole universe out of kilter.

They turn us against life
And make us sneeze even metaphysically.

I’ve wasted the whole day blowing my nose.

My head hurts all over.
A sorry state for a minor poet!
Today I’m truly a minor poet.
What I used to be was a wish: it snapped.


Good-bye forever, Fairy Queen!
You had wings of sunlight, and here I am plodding along.
I won’t get well unless I lie down in bed.
I’ve never been well except when lying down in the universe. 

Excusez du peu . . . What a terrible physical cold!
I need truth and some aspirin.

Álvaro de Campos


Fernando Pessoa, A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe. Selected Poems, Edited and Translated by Richard Zenith, London: Penguin Books, p. 238

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