Fernando Pessoa

Every time I go somewhere, it's a vast journey. A train trip to Cascais tires me out as if in this short time I'd travelled through the urban and rural landscapes of four or five countries.

I imagine myself living in each house I pass, each chalet, each isolated cottage whitewashed with lime and silence - happy at first, then bored, then fed up. It all happens in a moment, and as soon as I've abandoned one of these homes, I'm filled with nostalgia for the time I lived there. And so every trip I make is a painful and happy harvest of great joys, great boredoms, and countless false nostalgias.

And as I pass by those houses, villas and chalets, I also live the daily lives of all their inhabitants, living them all at the same time. I'm the father, mother, sons, cousins, the maid and the maid's cousin, all together and all at once, thanks to my special talent for simultaneously feeling various and sundry sensations, for simultaneously living the lives for various people - both on the outside, seeing them, and on the inside, feeling them.

I've created various personalities within. I constantly create personalities. Each of my dreams, as soon as I start dreaming it, is immediately incarnated in another person, who is then the one dreaming it, and not I.

To create, I've destroyed myself. I've so externalized myself on the inside that I don't exist there except externally. I'm the empty stage where various actors act out various plays.

299 "The Book of Disquiet" Edited and translated by Richard Zenith, Allen Lane The Penguin Press



wenn die gemeine Last der Tagesfron
mein ob der Zeitnot jedes irdischen Werkes
entsetztes Wesen in die Enge treibt?

Wie kann ich alle Kraft dem Auftrag widmen,
zu dem die Seele sich berufen glaubte,
wenn jeder Augenblick die Frage stellt,
wie meine Antwort auf sein Stichwort lautet?

Die Mitgift für die Heirat mit der Muse
und unsere Heimstatt in der größeren Zukunft
wird von der Tagesdrangsal aufgezehrt,
ich steh` vor der Unendlichkeit als Bettler,
so wie ein Christensünder, fleischgetrieben,
durch eigne Schuld verwirkt ersehnten Himmel.

Fernando Pessoa übersetzt von Georg Rudolf Lind