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

There are sicknesses worse then sicknesses


There are sicknesses worse than sicknesses,

There are pains that do not ache,  not even in the soul,

Yet are more painful than all the others.

These are anxietes dreamed of more real

Than those life brings to us,  sensations

Felt only by imagining them,

More our own than life itself.

So many things exist without existing,

Exist, an linger on and on,

And on and on belong to us, and are us . . .

Over the turbid green of the wide-spreading river

The white curcumflexes of the gulls . . .

Over what never was, not ever can be, and that’s all.


Let me have more wine, life is nothing.





Put high walls around the part of you that dreams yourself,

Then place as many cheerful flowers as you can

There where the garden may be seen

Behind the gate,  between the bars,

So they may recognize you this way only

Where no one sees it, put nothing.


Lay flower beds like those that others lay

and place them where eyes may spot

your garden as you plan to show it

But where you dwell and no one ever looks

Let flowers shoot up freely from the ground

and let the grass grow naturally.


Make of yourself a doubly sheltered being,

Soon one who looks or tries to see may

Know more than the garden that you are —

A garden private and ostensible,

Behind which common flowers lightly touch

Fine grass so spare not even you can spot it.


by Fernando Pessoa 

Translated from Portuguese by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown

This entry was posted in Being Human, Check this out, mindworks, Other peoples words, philosophy, poetry and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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