The Flight of the Bird Passing VI: Poems of Fernando Pessoa

Recalling who I was , I see somebody else

 

Recalling who I was, I see somebody else.

In memory the past becomes the present.

     Who I was is somebody I love,

     Yet only in a dream.

The longing that torments me now

Is not from me nor by the past invoked,

     But his who lives in me

     Behind my eyes.

Nothing knows me but the moment.

My own memory is nothing, and I feel

     That who I am and who I was

     Are two contrasting dreams.

(1930)

 

No one,  in the vast and virgin jungle

 

No one, in the vast and virgin jungle

Of this unreckoned world ever sees

     The God he knows.

Only what is borne upon the wind, upon the wind is

     heard.

All we ponder, ourselves, our gods,

     Pass on, because we do.

(1931)

 

To be great, be whole

 

To be great, be whole.

     Nothing,  exaggerate nothing that is you.

Be whole in everything.  Put all you are

     Into the smallest thing you do.

The whole moon gleams in every pool,

    It rides so high.

(1933)

 

By Ricardo Reis

heteronym of Fernando Pessoa 

Translated from Portuguese by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown

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The Flight of the Bird Passing V: Poems of Fernando Pessoa

One after another, hard-pressed waves

 

One after another, hard-pressed waves

Curl in their green motion

And hiss white foam into

The brownness of sea shores.

 

Leisurely clouds one after another

Break open their round motion

And sun burns the air space

Between the scanty clouds.

 

Only a vague inconsequential ache

Halts a moment at the portal of my soul

And, after staring briefly at me,

Passes on , smiling at nothing.

(1918)

 

 

I don’t want the sincere gifts

 

I don’t want the sincere gifts

You pretend to give me

As presents of your offering

Give me what I will lose,

Grieving for it lost, twice

over, for you and me.

 

Better to promise me it without

Giving it, so the loss

Will be more in hope

Than in memory.

 

I’ll take no more displeasure

Than in life’s continuing,

Seeing that as days pass, what’s

Hoped for is delayed, which is nothing.

(1923)

By Ricardo Reis

heteronym of Fernando Pessoa 

Translated from Portuguese by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown

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A Possible Solution to the Present Situation Facing Global Humanity

I propose an interdependent web of detached compassion to counter the material construction of capitalistic delusions of progress, or hell on earth for more than half of the earth’s human population. But, as always, logistics and application are difficult to bring about. Maybe, if we all just do what we can where we are, something will coalesce that we all can recognize as an improvement on the present unacceptable situation and work from there.

From Speculative Non-Buddhism 

Stranger Sutra

Preamble  

The stranger proclaims: To you, World, I refuse. 

The stranger is adept at identifying and resisting alienating representations.

The stranger proclaims: To you, World, I give.

By means of interminable negation the stranger reinvigorates being and thought in the face of the void—radical immanence; empty reality; para-zero; the axiomatic; the quasi; the apophatic; the dark night; the desert; the philofictional Real.

The stranger transfuses the symptom, exposed in the yearning embrace of the curative fantasy of ideological self-sufficiency, into a sovereign discernment for going forward.

Transfusion occurs in subjective submersion. We are speaking here of the decomposition that precedes bioremediation. We are speaking here of the inalienable poverty that begets the stranger.

Postulate 

Sunk in inalienable poverty, the stranger emerges fit for the clash with Hell.

Practice: Decomposition with Breathing 

Now, go to an isolated place. Sit down, and straighten your body. Establishing immanental awareness right where you are, breathe in, simply aware, then breathe out, simply aware. Continue:

I breathe in, knowing I am breathing in. I breathe out, knowing I am breathing out.

I breathe in, sensitive to my entire body. I breathe out, sensitive to my entire body.

I breathe in, aware of my emotional climate. I breathe out, aware of my emotional climate.

I breathe in, cognizant of mental oscillation. I breathe out, cognizant of mental oscillation.

I breathe in, observing the arising of the breath.

I breathe out, observing the dissolution of the breath.

I breathe in, experiencing deep connection.

I breathe out, letting go.

Warning

Decomposition with breathing is rich in results for the person and is of benefit to society. But only if it remains an insufficient practice. When taken as sufficient, it conspires with the New Age Apocalypse. That is the name for a pernicious Idea circulating within “spiritual” ideologies from time immemorial. It names a cataclysmic shift in this and that consciousness, a shift which augurs the dawn of an eternally utopian World. Decisive to this conceit is the fact that the new world comes into being not through collective social action or through revolutionary operations on material structures, but rather precisely through such a “shift in consciousness.” That is the first warning… Decomposition with breathing is rich in results for the person and is of benefit to society. But only if it remains on the side of the living. When applied as a pharmakon for mystical death, for the annihilation or alteration of consciousness, or even for the imaginary plenitude of calm contemplation, it conspires with the Spiritual Death Drive. In the pile-driving brutality that is our current capitalist reality, we are lulled to the shores of nirvanic quietude. This is the second warning.

Commentary

Decomposition with breathing is rich in results for the person and is of benefit to society. It places the practitioner in the teeming ruin where person and World intersect and transfuse. The soil of this ruin is brimming with the fungal mycelia that produce the electrifying flows—biological, psychological, mythological, narratological, ideological—that we call existence. We vigorously apply a fiction: What unfolds in the ruin of our practice is like the process of bioremediation, whereby, through organic decomposition, contaminants are eradicated from the soil. Be clear: remediation is not a metaphor for spiritualized purification. Think, rather, stimulation and augmentation of earth-incrusted organic matter.

That’s it.

And then, the stranger leaves the ruin.

Toward what end?

To struggle against the powers of the World.

To clash with Hell.

 

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The Flight of the Bird Passing IV: Poems of Fernando Pessoa

Only Nature is divine, and she’s not divine

 

Only Nature is divine, and she’s not divine . . .

 

If I speak of her as a being

it’s because to speak of her I must use the language of men

Which endows things with personality,

And forces names upon things.

They exist, and the sky is vast and the earth is wide,

And our hearts are the size of a clenched fist . . .

 

Bless me for all I do not know,

I enjoy it all as one who knows there’s always sun.

 

 

 

Rather the flight of the bird passing and leaving no trace

 

Rather the flight of the bird passing and leaving no trace

Than creatures passing, leaving tracks on the ground.

The bird goes by and forgets, which is as is should be.

The creature, no longer there, and so, perfectly useless

Shows it was there — also perfectly useless.

 

Remembering betrays Nature,

Because yesterday’s Nature is not Nature

What’s past is nothing and remembering is not seeing.

 

Fly, bird, fly away; teach me to disappear!

By Alberto Caeiro*

heteronym of Fernando Pessoa 

Translated from Portuguese by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown

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The Flight of the Bird Passing III: Poems of Fernando Pessoa

If I could take a bite of the whole earth

 

If I could take a bite of the whole earth

And get a taste of it,

I be happier for a moment . . .

But I don’t always want to be happy.

One must be unhappy now and then

Just to be able to be natural . . .

Not every day is fair,

And when there’s a drought, you look for rain.

That’s why I take the happy with the sad

Naturally, like someone not surprised

There are mountains and plains,

Rocks and grass . . .

One must be natural and easy,

Take the happy with the sad,

Feel as one looks,

Think as one talks,

And, when it is time to die, remember the day dies too,

And, the sunset is beautiful, and beautiful to the enduring night . . .

That’s how it is, and so be it . . .

 

By Alberto Caeiro*

heteronym of Fernando Pessoa 

Translated from Portuguese by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown

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The Flight of the Bird Passing II: Poems of Fernando Pessoa

I’m a keeper of sheep

I’m a keeper of sheep,

The sheep are my thoughts

And my thoughts are all sensations.

I think with my eyes and ears

And with my hands and feet

An with my nose and mouth.

To think a flower is to see it and smell it

And to eat the fruit is to taste its meaning.

That’s why on a hot day

When I ache from enjoying so much,

And stretch out on the grass

Closing my warm eyes,

I feel my whole body lying full length in reality

I know in truth that I am happy.

 

By Alberto Caeiro*

heteronym of Fernando Pessoa 

Translated from Portuguese by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown

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The Flight of the Bird Passing I: Poems of Fernando Pessoa

II “My glance is clear like a sunflower”

 

My glance is clear like a sunflower.

I usually take to the roads,

Looking to my right and to my left.

And now and then looking behind me . . .

And what I see each moment

Is something I’d never seen before,

And I’m good at noticing such things . . .

I know how to feel the same essential wonder

That an infant feels if, on being born,

He could note he’d been born . . .

I feel that I am being born each moment

into the eternal newness of the World . . .

I believe the World as in a daisy

Because I see it . But I don’t think about it

Because thinking about it is not understanding . . .

The World was not made for us to think about

(To think is to be eye-sick)

But for us to look at and be in tune with . . .

I have no philosophy, I have senses . . .

If I speak of Nature, it’s not because I know what

Nature is,

But because I love it, and that is why I love it,

For a lover never knows what he loves,

Why he loves or what love is . . .

Loving is eternal innocence,

And the only innocence is not to think . . .

By Alberto Caeiro*

heteronym of Fernando Pessoa 

Translated from Portuguese by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown

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