Pagan Poems

Fernando Pessoa


Back to one of my very slight – but still – obsessions: putting poetry back on stage.
Putting it back, because, after all, it was its place.
Poetry or the work of writing so that words become melodious.

And even translated, these words must remain at the heart of the music.

So, almost at random, tonight, it is Fernando Pessoa.
Almost, because, well… listen to this:

these words, this music, this voice that transports you to the old cars where Iggy Pop used to drive… don’t tell me it’s not wonderful.

“I know, I alone
How much it hurts, this heart
With no faith nor law
Nor melody nor thought.

Only I, only I
And none of this can I say
Because feeling is like the sky –
Seen, nothing in it to see.”

Pessoa’s writing is hard – he won’t flood you under false flowers, let alone false feelings. He will make you navigate between those various names he has chosen for his various personalities, he refuses to be “one”, to be simple, to have chosen one side over all the others. He refuses to have ” only one soul ” :

I don’t know how many souls I have.
I’ve changed at every moment.
I always feel like a stranger.
I’ve never seen or found myself.
From being so much, I have only soul.
A man who has soul has no calm.
A man who sees is just what he sees.
A man who feels is not who he is.

Attentive to what I am and see,
I become them and stop being I.
Each of my dreams and each desire
Belongs to whoever had it, not me.
I am my own landscape,
I watch myself journey –
Various, mobile, and alone.
Here where I am I can’t feel myself.

That’s why I read, as a stranger,
My being as if it were pages.
Not knowing what will come
And forgetting what has passed,
I note in the margin of my reading
What I thought I felt.
Rereading, I wonder: “Was that me?”
God knows, because he wrote it.

Of course, as he is a man of great finesse, he does not forget to smile – especially at himself :


I want the good, I want the bad, and in the end I want nothing.
I toss in bed, uncomfortable on my right side, on my left side,
And on my consciousness of existing.
I’m universally uncomfortable, metaphysically uncomfortable,
But what’s even worse is my headache.
That’s more serious than the meaning of the universe.

Once, while walking in the country around Oxford,
I saw up ahead, beyond a bend in the road,
A church steeple towering above the houses of a hamlet or village.
The photographic image of that non-event has remained with me
Like a horizontal wrinkle marring a trouser’s crease.
Today it seems relevant…
From the road I associated that steeple with spirituality,
The faith of all ages, and practical charity.
When I arrived at the village, the steeple was a steeple
And, what’s more, there it was.

You can be happy in Australia, as long as you don’t go there.”

The staging ?

Al right, let’s talk about the staging

as for the possibilities of staging, they are as infinite as there are souls in Pessoa’s texts, yes yes yes – that’s obvious.

Here is his soul that describes a love that rises – and Italy that welcomes him to say it

Here is his native city, Lisbon – and how can one not dream of Lisbon after that?

Ah yes, Lisbon slopes towards the sea, Lisbon is a city of the South – but the soul of Lisbon is not that of Istanbul, is not that of Nice, even less that of Antibes – it is not the soul of Barcelona either – each city has its heart and its poet to tell us its heart.

The very obstinate little person that I am often stubborn to maintain that yes, as long as to invent a theatre that shows what the others do not show, it is necessary that this theatre shows the soul of the poets and when these poets have several souls, then the theatre will put its lights and its shades on all the souls.

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8 Thoughts

  1. Again a post with beautiful and heart touching poems of Great poets.Yeah.Every City has It’s own poet but having all the same soul and same feelings.I agree.Weldon,dear Altair!!🌹💖🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, he’s a man who deserves to be highlighted even more – people don’t really like authors of literature when they’re alive, it seems to be a rule – and then he doesn’t say “pretty things too cute” so…. – so now it’s time to bring him to light

      Liked by 1 person

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