Saturday 3 December 2016

Ola, Keeper of Sheep

Alberto Caeiro was one of three other poets who inhabited the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. They were much more than pseudonyms or personae. They had a very real existence for him with biographies and lives of their own. In a letter in 1935, Pessoa describes the "triumphal" day when Caeiro sprang up in him. Many poets probably have the feeling about particular poems of their own that they are too sentimental, or feelingful, or perhaps rhetorical for themselves to have written or to publish happily and it would be nice to have another identity to ascribe them to. But this is a lesser sensation and a lesser reality than the one which Pessoa felt.

Anthony Cronin

Published 17/07/2011 | 05:00

'Ho there, herdsman! You there

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On the road's verge! What does it say,

The wind, as it blows by?'

'That it is wind, that it blows by

As before it has blown by,

And will again blow by.

But to you, what does it say?'

'Many other things, many more,

To me it has much to say:

Memories, nostalgia,

And things that never were.'

'Never did you hear the wind.

The wind says wind only.

What you heard was a lie,

And in yourself is the lie.'

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