Sunday, January 12, 2014

Follow Your Nose

The Olympus
—Painting by Abraham Janssens, 1575-1632

—Fernando Pessoa

Follow your nose,
Water your plants,
Love your roses.
All else is the shade
Of alien wildwood.

Always the actual
Either more, or less
Than what we wish.
We only are
Selfsame to ourself.

Sweetest to live alone.
Grand and golden
Plainly to live.
Lay pain upon altars
Ex voto to the gods.

View life at a distance
With never a question.
There's nothing it can
Tell you. The answer
Is beyond the gods.

But unperturbed
Emulate Olympus
In your heart.
The gods are gods because
They do not heed.

(trans. from the Portuguese by David Wright)