I consider a dream like I consider a shadow,” answered Caeiro, with his usual divine, unexpected promptitude. “A shadow is real, but it’s less real than a rock. A dream is real — if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be a dream — but less real than a thing. That’s what being real is like.
It’s the poet we love in Caeiro, not the philosopher. What we really get from these poems is a childlike sense of life, with all the direct materiality of the child’s mind, and all the vital spirituality of hope and increase that exist in the body and soul of nescient childhood. Caeiro’s work is a dawn that wakes us up and quickens us; a more that material, more than anti-spiritual dawn. It’s an abstract effect, pure vacuum, nothingness.
She’s a manner of speaking.Even the flowers don’t come back, or the green leaves.There are new flowers, new green leaves.There are other beautiful days.Nothing comes back, nothing repeats itself, because everything is real.
To love is to think.And I almost forget to feel only from thinking about her.I don’t know what I want at all, even from her, and I don’t think about anything but her.I have a great animated distraction.When I want to meet her,I almost feel like not meeting her,So I don’t have to leave her afterwards.And I prefer thinking about her, because it’s like I’m afraid of her.I don’t know what I want at all, and I don’t want to know what I want. All I want to do is think about her.I’m asking nothing of nobody, not even her, except to think.
If I knew I was going to die tomorrow,And Spring came the day after tomorrow,I would die peacefully, because it came the day after tomorrow.If that’s its time, when else should it come?I like it that everything is real and everything is right;And I like that it would be like this even if I didn’t like it.And so, if I die now, I die peacefullyBecause everything is real and everything is right.
Accept the universeAs the gods gave it to you.If the gods wanted to give you something elseThey’d have done it.If there are other matters and other worldsThere are.
And since today’s all there is for now, that’s everything.Who knows if I’ll be dead the day after tomorrow?If I’m dead the day after tomorrow, the thunderstorm day after tomorrowWill be another thunderstorm than if I hadn’t died.Of course I know thunderstorms don’t fall because I see them,But if I weren’t in the world,The world would be different —There would be me the less —And the thunderstorm would fall on a different world and would be another thunderstorm.No matter what happens, what’s falling is what’ll be falling when it falls.(7/10/1930)
It’s stranger than every strangenessAnd the dreams of all the poetsAnd the thoughts of all the philosophers,That things are really what they seem to beAnd there’s nothing to understand.
The man stopped talking and was looking at the sunset.But what does someone who hates and loves want with a sunset?
I think about this, not like someone thinking, but like someone breathing,And I look at flowers and I smile...I don’t know if they understand meOr if I understand them,But I know the truth is in them and in meAnd in our common divinityOf letting ourselves go and live on the EarthAnd carrying us in our arms through the contented SeasonsAnd letting the wind sing us to sleepAnd not have dreams in our sleep.
Live, you say, in the present;Live only in the present.But I don’t want the present, I want reality;I want things that exist, not time that measures them.What is the present?It’s something relative to the past and the future.It’s a thing that exists in virtue of other things existing.I only want reality, things without the present.I don’t want to include time in my scheme.I don’t want to think about things as present; I want to think of them as things.I don’t want to separate them from themselves, treating them as present.I shouldn’t even treat them as real.I should treat them as nothing.I should see them, only see them;See them till I can’t think about them.See them without time, without space,To see, dispensing with everything but what you see.And this is the science of seeing, which isn’t a science.
He should be happy because he can think about the unhappiness of others!He’s stupid if he doesn’t know other people’s unhappiness is theirs,And isn’t cured from the outside,Because suffering isn’t like running out of ink,Or a trunk not having iron bands!There being injustice is like there being death.
I don’t always feel what I know I should feel.My thought crosses the river I swim very slowlyBecause the suit men made it wear weighs it down.
A stagecoach passed by on the road and went on;And the road didn’t become more beautiful or even more ugly.That’s human action on the outside world.We take nothing away and we put nothing back, we pass by and we forget;And the sun is always punctual every day.(5/7/14)
Also at times, on the surface of streams,Water?bubbles formAnd grow and burstAnd have no meaning at allExcept that they’re water?bubblesGrowing and bursting.
There are no roses in my yard: what wind brought you?But I suddenly come from far away. I was sick for a moment.No wind whatsoever brought you now.Now you’re here.What you were isn’t you, or else the whole rose would be here.
I saw that there is no Nature,That Nature doesn’t exist,That there are hills, valleys, plains,That there are trees, flowers, weeds,That there are rivers and stones,But there is not a whole these belong to,That a real and true wholenessIs a sickness of our ideas.
I’m in no hurry: the sun and the moon aren’t, either.Nobody goes faster than the legs they have.If where I want to go is far away, I’m not there in an instant.(6/20/1919)
A row of trees far away, there on the hillside.But what is it, a row of trees? It’s just trees.Row and the plural trees aren’t things, they’re names.
If science wants to be truthful,What science is more truthful than the science of things without science?I close my eyes and the hard earth where I’m lyingHas a reality so real even my back feels it.I don’t need reason — I have shoulderblades.
I was born subject like others to errors and defects,But never to the error of wanting to understand too much,Never to the error of wanting to understand only with the intellect..Never to the defect of demanding of the WorldThat it be anything that’s not the World.
Between what i see in a field and what I see in another fieldThere passes for a moment the figure of a man.His steps go with “him” in the same reality,But I look at him and them, and they’re two things:The “man” goes walking with his ideas, false and foreign,And his steps go with the ancient system that makes legs walk.I see him from a distance without any opinion at all.How perfect that he is in him what he is — his body,His true reality which doesn’t have desires or hopes,But muscles and the sure and impersonal way of using them.
The amorous shepherd has lost his staff,And his sheep are straying on the hillside,And he didn’t even play the flute he brought to play because he was thinking so much.No one came to him or went away. He never found his staff again.Others, cursing at him, gathered his sheep for him.No one had loved him, in the end.When he got up from the hillside and the false truth, he saw everything:The great valleys full of the same green as always,The great distant mountains, more real than any feeling,All reality, with the sky and the air and the fields that exist, is present.(And once again the air, that he’d missed for so long, entered coolly into his lungs)And he felt that the air was opening again, but with pain, a liberty in his chest.(7/10/1930)
All the evil in the world comes from us bothering with each other,Wanting to do good, wanting to do evil.Our soul and the sky and the earth are enough for us.To want more is to lose this, and be unhappy.
The Amorous Shepherd is a fruitless interlude, but those few poems are among the world’s greatest love poems, because they’re love poems about love, not about being poems. The poet loves because he loves, not because love exists.
Something changed in part of reality — my knees and my hands.What science has knowledge for this?The blind man goes on his way and I don’t make any more gestures.It’s already not the same time, or the same people, or anything the same.This is being real.
The Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel dined with me, and I asked them how they dared so roundly to assert, that God spoke to them; and whether they did not think at the time, that they would be misunderstood, & so be the cause of imposition.Isaiah answer'd, I saw no God, nor heard any, in a finite organical perception; but my senses discover'd the infinite in every thing, and as I was then persuaded, & remain confirm'd; that the voice of honest indignation is the voice of God, I cared not for consequences but wrote.
Even so, I’m somebody.I’m the Discoverer of Nature.I’m the Argonaut of true sensations.I bring a new Universe to the UniverseBecause I bring the Universe to itself.
If I could take a bite of the whole worldAnd feel it on my palateI’d be more happy for a minute or so...But I don’t always want to be happy.Sometimes you have to beUnhappy to be natural...Not every day is sunny.When there’s been no rain for a while, you pray for it to come.So I take unhappiness with happinessNaturally, like someone who doesn’t find it strangeThat there are mountains and plainsAnd that there are cliffs and grass...What you need is to be natural and calmIn happiness and in unhappiness,To feel like someone seeing,To think like someone walking,And when it’s time to die, remember the day dies,And the sunset is beautiful, and the endless night is beautiful...That’s how it is and that’s how it should be...
Night doesn’t fall for my eyesBut my idea of the night is that it falls for my eyes.Beyond my thinking and having any thoughtsThe night falls concretelyAnd the shining of stars exists like it had weight.
And I find a happiness in the fact of accepting —In the sublimely scientific and difficult fact of accepting the inevitable natural.