POEM OF THE DAY.

Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935)
It is sometimes said that the four greatest Portuguese poets of modern times are Fernando Pessoa. The statement is possible since Pessoa, whose name means ‘person’ in Portuguese, had three alter egos who wrote in styles completely different from his own. In fact Pessoa wrote under dozens of names, but Alberto Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Álvaro de Campos were – their creator claimed – full-fledged individuals who wrote things that he himself would never or could never write. He dubbed them ‘heteronyms’ rather than pseudonyms, since they were not false names but “other names”, belonging to distinct literary personalities. Not only were their styles different; they thought differently, they had different religious and political views, different aesthetic sensibilities, different social temperaments. And each produced a large body of poetry. Álvaro de Campos and Ricardo Reis also signed dozens of pages of prose.

Follow your destiny,
Water your plants,
Love your roses.
The rest is shadow
Of unknown trees.

Reality is always
More or less
Than what we want.
Only we are always
Equal to ourselves.

It’s good to live alone,
And noble and great
Always to live simply.
Leave pain on the altar
As an offering to the gods.

See life from a distance.
Never question it.
There’s nothing it can
Tell you. The answer
Lies beyond the Gods.

But quietly imitate
Olympus in your heart.
The gods are gods
Because they don’t think
About what they are.