January 28, 2012

In All, There Were Three Things by Fernando Pessoa

de todo, quedaron tres cosas:
la certeza de que estaba siempre comenzando,
la certeza de que había que seguir
y la certeza de que sería interrumpido
antes de terminar.
Hacer de la interrupción un camino nuevo,
hacer de la caida, un paso de danza,
del miedo, una escalera,
del sueño, un puente, de la búsqueda,...un encuentro

by Fernando Pessoa

In all, there were three things:
the certainty one is always beginning 
the certainty one must go further
and the certainty that one will be interrupted before finishing.

From the interruptions, to make a new path,
from falling, a dance step,
from fear, a ladder
from dream, a bridge, from search...the encounter

By Fernando Pessoa
Translated by Cecilia Ramon and Sheila Packa

Note: the original text was written in Portuguese

These words by Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa express the frustrations of being a writer or artist. I post them here to remind myself of the fact that each new project has these three things.  Art is capability, and maybe the best art flourishes in the tension between failure and success. The writer or artist learns how to use limitations productively in the service of creating the new work. In my mind, the best artists and writers are always exploring  -- whether that is beings, objects or obstacles -- and learning new approaches, techniques, and methods.  I remind myself -- so easy to forget -- that my muse has a name: Seek. 


  1. lovely, strong Are you translating more Pessoa together?

  2. Not so far, but Cecilia had this in her notebook....

  3. Thank you Sheila for posting the translation, and for your insightful comment.

  4. Superb text! Thank you Sheila for sharing this quote! Could I, without any arrogance,propose an alternative translation/wording of the last line: "from REsearch...AN encounter". I love your reminder:"my muse has a name: Seek." Thank you for your enlivening blog (Paul-Georges Leroux):-)