My Soul is a Stiff Pageant
My soul is a stiff pageant, man by man,
Of some Egyptian art than Egypt older,
Found in some tomb whose rite no guess can scan,
Where all things else to coloured dust did moulder.
Whate'er its sense may mean, its age is twin
To that of priesthoods whose feet stood near God,
When knowledge was so great that 'twas a sin
And man's mere soul too man for its abode.
But when I ask what means that pageant I
And would look at it suddenly, I lose
The sense I had of seeing it, nor can try
Again to look, nor hath my memory a use
That seems recalling, save that it recalls
An emptiness of having seen those walls.
Fernando Pessoa, in 'English Poetry - 35 sonnets'