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Oct 2013 · 2.1k
To say
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
To say! To know how to say! To know how to exist via the written voice and the intellectual image! This is all that matters in life; the rest is men and women, imagined loves and factitious vanities, the wiles of our digestion and forgetfulness, people squirming — like worms when a rock is lifted — under the huge abstract boulder of the meaningless blue sky.
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
There are ships sailing to many ports,
but not a single one goes to where life is not painful;
nor is there a port of call where it is possible to forget.
Oct 2013 · 2.5k
Today
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
Today, suddenly, I reached an absurd but unerring conclusion. In a moment of enlightenment, I realized that I'm nobody, absolutely nobody. When the lightning flashed, I saw that what I had thought to be a city was in fact a deserted plain and, in the same sinister light that revealed me to myself, there seemed to be no sky above it. I was robbed of any possibility of having existed before the world. If I was ever reincarnated, I must have done so without myself, without a self to reincarnate.
I am the outskirts of some non-existent town, the long-winded prologue to an unwritten book. I'm nobody, nobody. I don't know how to feel or think or love. I'm a character in a novel as yet unwritten, hovering in the air and undone before I've even existed, amongst the dreams of someone who never quite managed to breathe life into me.
I'm always thinking, always feeling, but my thoughts lack all reason, my emotions all feeling. I'm falling through a trapdoor, through infinite, infinitous space, in a directionless, empty fall. My soul is a black maelstrom, a great madness spinning about a vacuum, the swirling of a vast ocean around a hole in the void, and in the waters, more like whirlwinds than waters, float images of all I ever saw or heard in the world: houses, faces, books, boxes, snatches of music and fragments of voices, all caught up in a sinister, bottomless whirlpool.
And I, I myself, am the centre that exists only because the geometry of the abyss demands it; I am the nothing around which all this spins, I exist so that it can spin, I am a centre that exists only because every circle has one. I, I myself, am the well in which the walls have fallen away to leave only viscous slime. I am the centre of everything surrounded by the great nothing.
And it is as if hell itself were laughing within me but, instead of the human touch of diabolical laughter, there's the mad croak of the dead universe, the circling cadaver of physical space, the end of all worlds drifting blackly in the wind, misshapen, anachronistic, without the God who created it, without God himself who spins in the dark of darks, impossible, unique, everything.
If only I could think! If only I could feel!
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
I asked for very little from life,
and even this little was denied me.
A nearby field,
a ray of sunlight,
a little bit of calm along with a bit of bread,
not to feel oppressed by the knowledge that I exist, not to demand anything from others,
and not to have others demand anything from me - this was denied me,
like the spare change we might deny a beggar not because we're mean-hearted but because we don't feel like unbuttoning our coat
Oct 2013 · 1.7k
Sit Still
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
Sit still with me in the shade of these green trees, which have no weightier thought than the withering of their leaves when autumn arrives,
or the stretching of their many stiff fingers into the cold sky of the passing winter.
Sit still with me and meditate on how useless effort is,
how alien the will,
and on how our very meditation is no more useful than effort,
and no more our own than the will.
Meditate too on how a life that wants nothing can have no weight in the flux of things,
but a life the wants everything can likewise have no weight in the flux of things,
since it cannot obtain everything,
and to obtain less than everything is not worthy of souls that seek the truth.
Oct 2013 · 2.2k
I am the escaped one
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
I am the escaped one,
After I was born
They locked me up inside me
But I left.
My soul seeks me,
Through hills and valley,
I hope my soul
never finds me
Oct 2013 · 1.4k
But my sadness is comforting
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
But my sadness is comforting
Because it’s right and natural
And because it’s what the soul should feel
When it already thinks it exists
And the hand pick flowers
And the soul takes no notice.”
Oct 2013 · 1.3k
I know, I alone
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
I know, I alone
How much it hurts, this heart
With no faith nor law
Nor melody nor thought.

Only I, only I
And none of this can I say
Because feeling is like the sky -
Seen, nothing in it to see.
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
There are metaphors more real than the people who walk in the street. There are images tucked away in books that live more vividly than many men and women. There are phrases from literary works that have a positively human personality. There are passages from my own writing that chill me with fright, so distinctly do I feel them as people, so sharply outlined do they appear against the walls of my room, at night, in shadows….. I've written sentences whose sound, read out loud or silently (impossible to hide their sound), can only be of something that acquired absolute exteriority and a full-fledged soul
Oct 2013 · 3.0k
I am nothing
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
I am nothing.
I'll never be anything.
I couldn't want to be something.
Apart from that,
I have in me all the dreams in the world.
Oct 2013 · 2.0k
The feelings that hurt most
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
The feelings that hurt most,
the emotions that sting most,
are those that are absurd - The longing for impossible things,
precisely because they are impossible;
nostalgia for what never was;
the desire for what could have been;
regret over not being someone else;
dissatisfaction with the world’s existence.
All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape,
an eternal sunset of what we are.
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
Cleopatra lies dead in the shade.
It rains.

The ship was dressed with the wrong flags.
It continues to rain.

Why do you gaze at the distant city?
Your soul is the distant city.
It rains a chill rain.

And as for the mother who rocks a dead child in her arms --
We all rock a dead child in our arms.
It rains, it rains.

I see the sad smile left on your weary lips
In the way your finger won't let go of your rings.
Why does it rain?
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
I devote my higher mind to the ardent
Pursuit of the summit, leaving
Verse to chance and its laws,
For when the thought is lofty and noble,
The sentence will naturally seek it,
And rhythm slavishly serve it.
Oct 2013 · 1.2k
I'm unable to feel
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
I'm unable to feel, to be human, to reach out
From inside my sad soul to my fellow earthly brothers.
And even were I to feel, I'm unable to be useful, practical, quotidian, definite,
To have a place in life, a destiny among men,
To have a vocation, a force, a will, a garden,
A reason for resting, a need for recreation,
Something that comes to me directly from nature.

So be motherly to me, O tranquil night . . .
You who remove the world from the world, you who are peace,
You who don't exist, who are only the absence of light,
You who aren't a thing, a place, an essence or a life,
Penelope who weaves darkness that tomorrow will be unravelled,
Unreal Circe of the fevered, of the anguished without a cause,
Come to me, O night, reach out your hands,
And be coolness and relief, O night, on my forehead . . .
Oct 2013 · 1.8k
I fall
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
I FALL full length into all life,
And my lust for living roars within me.
No pleasures in the world can equal
The stupendous joy of one who can't tell it
Except by rolling on the ground in the grass and the daisies,
Mingling with the dirt until his suit and hair are ***** . . .
There are no verses that can grant this.
Pluck a blade of grass, bite into it, and you will understand,
You will completely understand what I incompletely express.
I crave to be a root
Pursuing my inner sensations like a sap . . .
I'd like to have all the senses -- including
My intellect, imagination and inhibition --
On my skin's surface so that I could roll over the rough ground
More deeply within, feeling more roughness and bumps.
I'd be satisfied if my body were my soul,
For only then would all winds, all suns and all rains
Be felt by me in the way I'd like.
This being impossible, I despair, I rage,
I wish I could gnash at my suit
And have a lions tough claws to rip at my flesh
Until the blood would flow, flow, flow, flow  . . .
I suffer because all of this is absurd,
As if I could scare somebody
With my hostile feeling toward destiny, toward God,
Which arises when we confront the Ineffable
And suddenly perceive our weakness and smallness.
Oct 2013 · 1.1k
Whatever the case
Fernando Pessoa Oct 2013
Whatever the case, it would have been better not to be born,
For no matter how interesting it is at every moment,
Life sometimes hurts, jades, cuts, bruises, grates,
Makes us want to scream, to jump, to wallow, to walk
Out of every house and every logic and off every balcony,
And to become savage and die among trees and things forgotten,
Among collapses and hazards and absence of tomorrows,
And all this, O life, should be something closer to what I think,
To what I think or what I feel, whatever that is.

I cross my arms on the table, I lay my head on my arms,
And I need to want to cry, but I don't know where to find the tears.
No matter how hard I try to pity myself, I don't cry,
My soul is broken under the curved finger that touches it . . .
What will become of me? What will become of me?

— The End —