A Fernando Pessoa Poem for Someone Who Has Quit to Begin Again

It starts with strange glances and whispers.  Or perhaps you feel compromised, altogether too obedient, not yourself.  You cannot think straight. You lose sleep and can’t eat.  Is it madness after all?  What daemon has possessed you?  Perhaps it’s a comic mask.  Or is it?  Remember the Greek tragedies.  Medea, Cassandra, Hecuba, Antigone.  Even Ophelia and Titania.  Time will tell whether you shall decide your fate and laugh at the gods.  Perhaps, but what are the chances?

Here is Fernando Pessoa in the voice of Ricardo Reis:

Don’t try to build in the space you suppose

Is future, Lydia, and don’t promise yourself

Tomorrow.  Quit hoping and be who you are

Today.  You alone are your life.

Don’t plot your destiny, for you are not the future.

Between the cup you empty and the same cup

Refilled, who knows whether your fortune

Won’t interpose the abyss?


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