Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)
Heteronyms (pseudonyms): Alberto Caeiro, 
Álvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis

I never kept sheep,
But it's as if I'd done so.
My soul is like a shepherd.
It knows wind and sun
Walking hand in hand with the Seasons
Observing, and following along.


Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book,
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our soul and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill of thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thought our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others' dreams. 


If that apparent part of life's delight Our tingled flesh-sense circumscribes were seen By aught save reflex and co-carnal sight, Joy, flesh and life might prove but a gross screen. Haply Truth's body is no eyable being, Is the choked vision of blindfolded eyes. Wherefrom what comes to thought's sense of life? Nought. All is either the irrational world we see Or some aught-else whose being-unknown doth rot Its use for our thought's use. Whence taketh me A qualm-like ache of life, a body-deep Soul-hate of what we seek and what we weep.


How many masks wear we, and undermasks, Upon our countenance of soul, and when, If for self-sport the soul itself unmasks, Knows it the last mask off and the face plain? The true mask feels no inside to the mask But looks out of the mask by co-masked eyes. Whatever conciousness begins the task The task's accepted use to sleepness ties. Like a child frighted by its mirrored faces, Our souls, that children are, being thought-losing, Foist otherness upon their seen grimaces And get a whole world on their forgot causing; And, when a thought would unmask our soul's masking, Itself goes not unmasked to the unmasking.

Alentejo Seen From The Train
Nothing with nothing around it And a few trees in between None of wich very clearly green, Where no river or flower pays a visit. If there be a hell, I've found it, For if ain't here, where the Devil it is?
I am the escaped one
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.

Far away, far away, Far away from here... There is no worry after joy Or away from fear Far away from here. Her lips were not very red, Not her hair quite gold. Her hands played with rings. She did not let me hold Her hands playing with gold. She is something past, Far away from pain. Joy can touch her not, nor hope Enter her domain, Neither love in vain. Perhaps at some day beyond Shadows and light She will think of me and make All me a delight All away from sight.

On An Ankle
A SONNET BEARING THE IMPRIMATUR OF THE INQUISITOR-GENERAL AND OTHER PEOPLE OF DISTINCTION AND DECENCY I had a revelation not from high, But from below, when thy skirt awhile lifted Betrayed such promise that I am not gifted With words that may that view well signify. And even if my verse that thing would try, Hard were it, if that word came to be sifted, To find a word that rude would not have shifted There from the cold hand of Morality. The gaze is nought; mere sight no mind hath wrecked. But oh! sweet lady, beyond what is seen What things may guess or hint at Disrespect?! Sacred is not the beauty of a queen... I from thine ankle did as much suspect As you from this suspect what I mean.

Why do I desire
Why do I desire What I do not need ? Why does my soul, like fire, Or a hot abstract greed, Seek all that is higher ? Why, if not because It is a soul ? Who can know the cause When it lies in its whole Hidden in laws ? Yet this matters not. What matters is pining And that stress of thought That comes of diving What to wish that may not be got.

The happy sun is shining
The happy sun is shining The fields are green and gay, But my poor heart is pining For something far away. It`s pining just for you, It`s pining for thy kiss. It does not matter if you're true To this. What matter is just you. I now the sea is beaming Under the summer sun. I know the waves are gleaming, Each one and every one. But I am far from you, And so far from your kiss! And that`s all I get that's really true In this. What matters is just you. Oh, yes, the sky is splendid, So blue as it now, The air and light are blended, Oh yes, hot, anyhow, Nothing of this is you I'm absent from your kiss, That`s all I get that`s sad and true In this What matter is just you.

Epithalamium  *
Open the windows and thee doors all wide Lest aught of night abide, Or, like a ship's trail in the sea, survive What made it there to live! She lies in bed half waiting that her wish Grows bolder or more rich To make her rise, or poorer, to oust fear, And she rises as a common day were here. That she would be a bride in bed with man The parts where she is woman do insist And send up messages that shame doth ban From being dreamed but in a shapeless mist. She opens her eyes, the ceiling sees above Shutting the small alcove, And thinks, till she must shut her eyes again. Another ceiling she this night will know, Another house, another bed, she lain In a way she half guesses; so She shuts her eyes to see not the room she Soon will no longer see.

* Epithalamium (Greek): epi = upon and thalamium = nuptial chamber. Sometimes also spelled "epithalamion". Refers to a form of poem that is written for the bride. Specifically written for the bride on the way to her marital chamber.

Fernando Pessoa

Sonnets (1918), English Poems (1922)
and Mensagem (1934).


Ricardo Reis
Crown me with roses

Pessoa - Poems

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Update: 18-07-2019.

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