Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Shrug of the Shoulders

Fernando Pessoa A Shrug of the Shoulders We generally give to our ideas about the unknown the color of our notions about what we do know: If we call death a sleep it's because it has the appearance of sleep; if we call death a new life, it's because it seems different from life. We build our beliefs and hopes out of these small misunderstandings with reality and live off husks of bread we call cakes, the way poor children play at being happy.But that's how all life is; at least that's how the particular way of life generally known as civilization is. Civilization consists in giving an innapropriate name to something and then dreaming what results from that. And in fact the false name and the true dream do create a new reality. The object really does become other, because we have made it so. We manufacture realities. We use the raw materials we always used but the form lent it by art effectively prevents it from remaining the same. A table made out of pinewood is a pinetree but it is also a table. We sit down at the table not at the pinetree. ... An excerpt from "The Book of Disquiet," written in the 1920's, first published in 1982 by Atica in Lisbon. via artseensoho


sroden said...

the book of disquiet is his most well known work, which is absolutely wonderful; but my favorite of his texts is a poem from an earlier book called "the keeper of sheep". seemed good to share...

my glance is like a sunflower
i usually take to the roads
looking to my right and my left
and now and then
looking behind me

what i see each moment
is ...
that i'd never seen before
and i notice such things

i know how to feel the same essential wonder
that an infant feels if,
on being born
he could note
he'd really been born

i feel that i am being born each moment
into the eternal newness of the world

i believe in the world as in a daisy because i see it.
but i don't think about it
because thinking is not really understanding

the world was not made for us to to think about
(to think is to be eye-sick)
but for us to look at and be in tune with

i have no philosophy: i have only senses

if i speak of nature
it is not because i know what nature is
but because i love it

and that's why i love it
for a lover never knows what he loves
why he loves, or what love is

the only innocence is not to think,
and loving is eternal innocence.

Princess Haiku said...


In the world of Pessoa, innocence isn't possible it's unavoidable. The poem above is quite marvelous. Fascinating conversation, dearest. I don't expect anything less in your space.

I am working on some new writing projects and been occupied.

Is this another day asked, poet? I was certain I hadn't awakened.

Your Princess H

Moon River said...

sroden - thanks for sharing!
it is truly beautiful

princess - i so much love it that you are here :)

and do let me read some of your new writtings

Princess Haiku said...

Dearest Moon,
I am thinking of you tonight, so far away in your own world.

-Leaving moonlight behind to spill into your footsteps.