Fernando Pessoa

The Tobacconist's

I am nothing.
I shall always be nothing.
I can only want to be nothing.
Apart from this, I have in me all the dreams in the world.

. . .


Não sou nada.
Nunca serei nada.
Não posso querer ser nada.
À parte isso, tenho em mim todos os sonhos do mundo.

. . .

* the first four lines of "The Tobacconist's", Álvaro de Campos, Lisbon, 15-1-1928.

Fernando Pessoa, a poet who lived most of his life in a furnished room in Lisbon, Portugal and who died in obscurity there. Pessoa is the extreme example of what may be the essentially modern kind of poet: the objective introvert. He accepted the dividedness of a human self so completely that he did something unique: he wrote poetry under four names - his own and three 'heteronyms'. Pessoa was four poets in one: Alberto Caeiro (the pastoral seer), Álvaro de Campos (the Futurist), Ricardo Reis (the elegant classicist) and himself, Fernando Pessoa (the Symbolist). Pessoa has gained international recognition as one of the most original poets of European modernism.

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