Fernando Pessoa Poetry

Fernando Pessoa Poetry

The ocean has inspired artists, musicians, poets, lovers since the beginning of time. One of my favorite poets, Fernando Pessoa, wrote extensively about the sea under the pseudonym, Alvaro de Campos. Here is one of my favorites, that really captures what its like to go on a sailing trip.

Ah, when we set out to sea,
When we shove off from land and begin to lose sight of it,
When everything starts to fill with purely ocean air,
When the coast becomes a shadowy line,
An ever hazier line as the night falls (lights hover) —
Then what joyful freedom for those who feel!
Suddenly there’s no more reason for existing socially,
There are no more reasons for loving, hating, doing one’s duty,
There are only the Abstract Departure and the water’s movement,
The movement of pulling away, the sound
Of the waves lulling the prow,
And a large skittish peace that softly enters the soul.

Ah, to have my whole life
Unsteadily fixed in one of these moments,
To have the whole meaning of my duration on earth
Summed up in a departure from the coast where I left everything —
Loves, vexations, sorrows, alliances, duties,
The restless anguish of regrets,
The weariness caused by so much futility,
The surfeit even of imagined things,
The nausea, the lights,
The eyelids that weigh heavy over my lost life…

I’ll go far, far away! Far away, O boat without cause,
To the prehistoric irresponsibility of the eternal waters.
Far away, forever far away, O death.
When I know faraway where and faraway why, O life…