“For me, commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred: nor can I detach one duty, like you, from all other duties, and concentrate my forces mechanically on the payment of moneys. Let me live onward: you shall find that, though slower, the progress of my character will liquidate all these debts without injustice to higher claims.”
“All I ask the gods to grant me is that
I ask them for nothing. Good Luck is a yoke
And to be happy oppresses,
For it’s an emotional state.
I want to raise my not easy nor uneasy,
Purely calm being above the plane
Where men rejoice or grieve.”
Unable to sleep, I spent the whole night seeing her figure all by itself
And seeing it always in ways different from when I see her in person.
I fashion thoughts from my memory of how she is when she talks to me,
And in each thought she’s a variation on her likeness.
To love is to think.
And from thinking of her so much, I almost forget to feel.
I don’t really know what I want, even from her, and she’s all I think of.
My distraction is as large as life.
When I feel like being with her,
I almost prefer not being with her,
So as not to have to leave her afterwards.
And I prefer thinking about her, because I’m a little afraid of her as she really is.
I don’t really know what I want, and I don’t even want to know what I want.
All I want to is to think her.
I don’t ask anything of anyone, not even of her, except to let me think.
Alberto Caeiro (Fernando Pessoa)
We crossed paths on a downtown Lisbon street, and he came up to me
In his shabby clothes, with Professional Beggar written all over his face,
Drawn to me by some affinity that I also feel for him,
And with a broad, effusive gesture I reciprocally gave him all I had
(Except, of course, what was in the pocket where I keep more money:
I’m no fool, nor a zealous Russian novelist,
Just a Romantic, and that in moderation…).
I feel sympathy for people like him,
especially when they don’t deserve sympathy.
Yes, I too am a beggar and a bum,
And likewise through no one’s fault by my own.
To be a beggar and a bum doesn’t mean you’re a beggar and a bum:
It means you’re unconnected to the social ladder,
It means you’re unadaptable to life’s norms,
To life’s real or sentimental norms—
It means you’re not a High Court judge, a nine to five employee, or a whore,
Not genuinely poor or an exploited worker,
Not sick with an incurable disease,
Not thirsty for justice, or a cavalry officer,
Not, in short, within any of those social categories depicted by novelists
Who pour themselves out on paper because they have good reasons for shedding tears
And who rebel against society because their good reasons make them think they’re rebels
No: anything but having good reasons!
Anything but caring about humanity!
Anything but giving in to humanitarianism!
What good is a feeling if there’s an external reason for it?
Yes, being a beggar and a bum like me
Isn’t just being a beggar and a bum, which is commonplace;
It’s being a bum by virtue of being isolated in your soul,
It’s being a beggar because you have to beg the days to go by and leave you alone.
All the rest is stupid, like Dostoevsky or Gorky.
All the rest is going hungry or having no clothes.
And even if this happens, it happens to so many people
That it’s not worth the trouble to trouble over those it happens to.
I’m a beggar and a bum in the truest sense, namely the figurative sense,
And I’m wallowing in heartfelt compassion for myself.
Poor Alvaro de Campos!
So isolated in life! So depressed!
Poor guy, sunken in the armchair of his melancholy!
Poor guy, who this very day, with (genuine) tears in his eyes
And with a broad, liberal, Muscovite gesture,
Gave all he had—from the pocket where he had little—
To that poor man who wasn’t poor, who had professionally sad eyes.
Poor Alvaro de Campos, whom nobody cares about!
Poor Alvaro, who feels so sorry for himself!
Yes, the poor guy!
Pooerer than many who are bums and bum around
Or who are beggars and beg,
Because the human soul is an abyss.
I should know. Poor Guy!
How splendid to be able to rebel at rallies in my soul!
But I’m no fool!
And I don’t have the excuse of being socially concerned.
I have no excuse at all: I’m lucid.
Don’t try to persuade me otherwise: I’m lucid.
It’s like I said: I’m lucid.
Don’t talk to me about aesthetics with a heart: I’m lucid.
Shit! I’m lucid.
Alvaro de Campos (Fernando Pessoa)