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.

(1935)

 

Advice

 

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

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

This

 

They say I fake or lie

In everything I write

No, it’s simply that

With me imagination

Feeds — I don’t use

The heart.

 

All I dream or go through

All I fail or lose out

On, is like a terrace

Facing something else

Again, and that’s the lovely

Thing.

 

It’s why I write

steeped in things not readily

At hand– free of emotions,

Serious about what isn’t,

Feelings?  That’s the readers

Lot!

 

 

 I’m so full of feeling

 

I’m so full of feeling

I can easily believe

I must be sentimental.

But when I mull this over,

I see it’s all in thought,

I felt nothing whatever.

 

All of us alive spend

One life in living it,

Another, thinking it.

And the only life we have

Is split between

The true one and the false.

 

But which is true

And which is false,

No one can explain.

And as we go on living,

The life we spend’s the one

That’s doomed to thinking.

 

(1933)

 

by Fernando Pessoa 

Translated from Portuguese by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown

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

Beyond God

   1. The Abyss

 

I watch the Tagus in such a way

That my watching forgets I’m watching

And suddenly this strikes me

Against my daydreaming —

What is it, river-being flowing?

What is it, my-being-here and watching?

 

 

I feel almost nothing suddenly,

Time and place both emptied,

Everything gone hollow suddenly–

Even my being here and thinking,

Everything — myself, the world around me —

Remains more than external.

 

 

In everything the being and remaining, lost,

And vanished from my thinking,

I am powerless to link

Being, idea, soul, by name

To myself, the earth, the heavens  . . .

 

 

And suddenly face God . . .

by Fernando Pessoa 

Translated from Portuguese by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown

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

I only ask the gods to grant me

 

I only ask the gods to grant me

That I nothing of them. Happiness is a burden,

Good Fortune a yoke,

Both bespeaking to secure a state,

Not composed or discomposed, I’d calmly live

Beyond that state in which men take

To sorrows and to joys

 

 

 

My gesture that destroys

 

My gesture that destroys

The hill of ants

The ants might think’s inflicted by some godly being

But I do not take myself to be divine.

 

And so perhaps the gods,

Whether they are or not,

Simply because they’re greater than we

Are taken for our gods.

 

Where ever the truth may lie,

May we each avoid

Full faith, perhaps unfounded

In those we do believe are gods.

 

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 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

Posted in All part of the process, Being Human, Check this out, mindworks, Other peoples words, paying attention, philosophy, poetry | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment