30 Apr TABACARIA (FERNANDO PESSOA)
I failed in everything.
Since I had no aims, maybe everything was indeed nothing.
What I was taught,
I climbed out of that, down from the window at the back of the house.
I went to the countryside with grand plans,
But all I found there was grass and trees,
And when there were people, they were just like the others.
I step back from the window and sit in a chair. What should I think about now?
What do I know of what I shall be, I who do not know what I am?
Be what I think I am? But I think of so many things!
And there are so many who think to be the same thing- there can’t be that many!
Genius? At this moment
A hundred thousand minds dream themselves geniuses like I do,
And history will not register, who knows? not even one,
Nor will it remain but manure from so many future conquests.
No, I do not believe in myself.
In every mental asylum there are mad deranged people with so many certainties!
I, who do not have any certainties, am more or less right?
No, not even in myself…
In how many garrets and non-garrets of the world
Are not there geniuses dreaming unto themselves?
How many aspirations high and noble and lucid-
– yes, truly high, noble and lucid-
And, who knows, maybe accomplishable,
Will never see the light of the real sun, nor be heard by human ears?
The world is for those born to conquer it
And not for those who dream they can conquer it, even though they may be right.
I have dreamt more than Napoleon accomplished;
I have clasped to my hypothetical breast more humanity than Christ;
I contrived philosophies in secret that no Kant ever wrote.
But I am, and maybe I shall always be, the one in the garret,
Even if I don’t live in one;
I shall always be the one who was not born for that;
I shall always be only the one who had (good) qualities;
I shall always be the one who waited for the door to be opened by a doorless wall,
And sang the song of the Infinite in a chicken-house,
And heard the voice of God inside a plugged well.
Believe in myself? No, not in anything.
May Nature pour over my ardent head
Its sun; its rain, the wind that finds my hair.
And the rest that may come if it comes, or if it has to come, or if it has not.
Cardiac slaves to the stars,
We conquer the world even before we rise from bed;
But we wake up and it is opaque,
We get up and it is alien,
We go out and it is the whole Earth,
Plus the Solar System and the Milky Way and the Indefinite.
(Eat chocolates, little girl;
Eat chocolates! Believe me, there is no metaphysics in the world other than chocolates;
Believe me, all the religions together do not teach more than the candy-shop.
Eat, dirty girl, eat!
I wish I could eat chocolates as earnestly as you!
But I think and, on peeling the silvery paper, which is made from tin foil,
I drop it all to the ground, as I have done with my life.)
But at least it remains from the sorrow of what I shall never be