It would be a crude formulation to say that I have learnt immense amounts from Pessoa but it is a crudity that is given shape by my inability to put any of that 'learning' into practice in the last year. I dip into the book when I want to know what the day holds for me; to find the words for things long known; to confirm my objective self-pity. I consult it as I would an oracle.
So here's Pessoa in Poetry this month, translated by Richard Zenith:
In me every thought, however much I’d like to preserve it intact, turns sooner or later into reverie. If I wish to set forth reasons or launch a train of argument, what comes out of me are sentences initially expressive of the thought itself, then phrases subsidiary to those initial sentences, and finally shadows and derivatives of those subsidiary phrases. I begin to meditate on the existence of God and soon find myself speaking of faraway parks, feudal processions, rivers that pass almost soundlessly beneath the windows of my contemplation . . . And I find myself speaking about them because I find myself seeing them, feeling them, and there’s a brief moment when my face is grazed by a real breeze rising from the surface of the dreamed river through metaphors, through the stylistic feudalism of my central self-abandon.