How many masks wear we, and undermasks, by Pessoa

from «35 Sonnets». 1918, in Poemas Ingleses. by Fernando Pessoa – translated into Italian by Enzo Martinelli

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VIII – How many masks wear we, and undermasks

How many masks wear we, and undermasks, Upon our countenance of soul, and when, If for self-sport the soul itself unmasks, Knows it the last mask off and the face plain? The true mask feels no inside to the mask But looks out of the mask by co-masked eyes. Whatever consciousness begins the task The task’s accepted use to sleepness ties. Like a child frighted by its mirrored faces, Our souls, that children are, being thought-losing, Foist otherness upon their seen grimaces And get a whole world on their forgot causing; And, when a thought would unmask our soul’s masking, Itself goes not unmasked to the unmasking.

🇮🇹

Quante maschere indossiamo, e sotto-maschere, sul nostro volto dell’anima, e quando, se per divertimento l’anima stessa si smaschera, conosce l’ultima maschera e il volto chiaro? La vera maschera non si sente dentro la maschera, ma guarda fuori dalla maschera con occhi velati. Qualunque sia la coscienza che inizia il compito L’uso accettato del compito è legato all’insonnia. Come un bambino spaventato dai suoi volti specchiati, le nostre anime, che sono bambini, persi nei pensieri, perdono l’alterità sulle loro smorfie viste e generano un intero mondo sulla dimenticata causa; E, quando un pensiero smaschera il mascheramento della nostra anima, non viene smascherato dallo smascheramento.

Fernando Pessoa

Poesia in traduzione

Translated poetry

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