Fernando Pessoa

Portugal
13 Jun 1888 // 30 Nov 1935
Poet

Poems

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Freedom (1)

Oh what a pleasure/ Not fulfill a duty,/ Having a book to read/ And not doing it!/ To read is a bore,/ To study is nothing./ The sun shines/ Without literature/ The river flows, good or bad,/ Without...

My Heart Weighs (2)

Good. I have done. My heart weighs. I am sad./ The outer day, void statue of lit blue,/ Is altogether outward, other, glad/ At mere being not-I (so my aches construe)./ I, that have failed in everyth...

The Image of Fate (3)

Happy the maimed, the halt, the mad, the blind / All who, stamped separate by curtailing birth,/ Owe no duty's allegiance to mankind/ Nor stand a valuing in their scheme of worth!/ But I, whom Fate,...

To Err is to Find Truth (4)

He that goes back does, since he goes, advance,/ Though he doth not advance who goeth back,/ And he that seeks, though he on nothing chance/ May still by words be said to find a lack./ This paradox o...

When I Have Sense of what to Sense Appears (5)

When I have sense of what to sense appears,/ Sense is sense ere 'tis mine or mine in me is./ When I hear, Hearing, ere I do hear, hears./ When I see, before me abstract Seeing sees./ I am part Soul p...

My Hope on Unknown Truth Lay (6)

I am older than Nature and her Time/ By all the timeless age of Consciousness,/ And my adult oblivion of the clime/ Where I was born makes me not countryless./ Ay, and dim through my daylight thought...

The Truth of the Sense (7)

I do not know what truth the false untruth/ Of this sad sense of the seen world may own,/ Or if this flowered plant bears also a fruit/ Unto the true reality unknown./ But as the rainbow, neither ear...

My Weary Life (8)

My weary life, that lives unsatisfied/ On the foiled off-brink of being e'er but this,/ To whom the power to will hath been denied/ And the will to renounce doth also miss;/ My sated life, with havin...

Holding a Dream (9)

The edge of the green wave whitely doth hiss/ Upon the wetted sand. I look, yet dream./ Surely reality cannot be this!/ Somehow, somewhere this surely doth but seem!/ The sky, the sea, this great ext...

How Yesterday is Long Ago! (10)

How yesterday is long ago! The past/ Is a fixed infinite distance from to-day,/ And bygone things, the first-lived as the last,/ In irreparable sameness far away./ How the to-be is infinitely ever/ O...
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays