Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Small and large -- poetic views . . .

     A favorite on my bookshelves is The Book of Disquiet: the Complete Edition by Fernando Pessoa*.  Here is a math-poetic item from this "diary" by Pessoa:

     In a discussion about how a village may be larger than a city 
          because you can see more of the world there  -- Pessoa quotes (on p. 241) 
               these lines from Alberto Caeiro, one of his writing personas: 

                 Because I am the size of what I see
                 And not the size of my own stature.

     These lines are from Millimeters (the observation of infinitesimal things),
          on pp. 67-69: 

          Millimeters -- their existence side by side, 
          so close together on the ruler, 
          provokes in me such an impression of wonder and daring . . . 
          I am an endlessly sensitive photographic plate.  
          In me every tiny detail is recorded and magnified 
                    to form part of a whole.

*Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet was edited by Jeronimo Pizarro, translated from the Portuguese by Margaret Jull Costa -- A New Directions BookThis New Yorker article offers interesting background information about the mysterious Pessoa.


  1. Newton's binomial is as beautiful as Venus de Milo. What happens is that few people notice it.Fernando Pessoa as Álvaro de Campos.

  2. Thanks for bringing these lines of Pessoa to reader's attention. (See also