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Fernando Pessoa

Selected poems

AUTOPSYCHOGRAPHY

The poet is a faker
Who’s so good at his act
He even fakes the pain
Of pain he feels in fact.
And those who read his words
Will feel in his writing
Neither of the pains he has
But just the one they’re missing.
And so around its track
This thing called the heart winds,
A little clockwork train
To entertain our minds.

Countless lives inhabit us.

Countless lives inhabit us.
I don’t know, when I think or feel,
Who it is that thinks or feels.
I am merely the place
Where things are thought or felt.
I have more than just one soul.
There are more I’s than I myself.
I exist, nevertheless,
Indifferent to them all.
I silence them: I speak.
The crossing urges of what
I feel or do not feel
Struggle in who I am, but I
Ignore them. They dictate nothing
To the I I know: I write.

To see the fields and the river

To see the fields and the river
It isn't enough to open the window.
To see the trees and the flowers
It isn't enough not to be blind.
It is also necessary to have no philosophy.
With philosophy there are no trees, just ideas.
There is only each one of us, like a cave.
There is only a shut window, and the whole world outside,
And a dream of what could be seen if the window were opened,
Which is never what is seen when the window is opened.

I don’t know how many souls I have.

I don’t know how many souls I have.
I’ve changed at every moment.
I always feel like a stranger.
I’ve never seen or found myself.
From being so much, I have only soul.
A man who has soul has no calm.
A man who sees is just what he sees.
A man who feels is not who he is.
Attentive to what I am and see,
I become them and stop being I.
Each of my dreams and each desire
Belongs to whoever had it, not me.
I am my own landscape,
I watch myself journey -
Various, mobile, and alone.
Here where I am I can’t feel myself.
That’s why I read, as a stranger,
My being as if it were pages.
Not knowing what will come
And forgetting what has passed,
I note in the margin of my reading
What I thought I felt.
Rereading, I wonder: “Was that me?”
God knows, because he wrote it.


© Translation: 1998, Richard Zenith
From: Fernando Pessoa & Co. – Selected Poems
Publisher: Grove Press, New York, 1998, 0-8021-3627-3
EXTRACTS From:.poetryinternationalweb.net/

Love is Essential

Love is essential.
Sex, mere accident.
Can be equal
Or different.
A man's not an animal:
Is a flesh intelligent,
Although sometimes ill.
Your Eyes Go Sad
Your eyes go sad. You're not
Listening to what I say.
They doze, dream, fade out.
Not listening. I talk away.
I tell what I've told, out of listless
Sadness, so often before…
I think you never listened,
So you're away you are.
All of a sudden, an absent
Stare, you look at me, still
Immeasurably distant,
You begin a smile.
I go on talking. You
Go on listening - your own
Thoughts you listen to,
The smile as good as gone,
Until, through the loafing
Afternoon's waste of while,
The silence self-unleafing
Of your useless smile.