Odes

Ricardo Reis 1888–1935 Fernando Pessoa

Translated By Edouard Roditi

1.
Of the gardens of Adonis, Lydia, I love
Most of all those fugitive roses
         That on the day they are born,
         That very day, must also die.
Eternal, for them, the light of day:
They're born when the sun is already high
         And die before Apollo's course

         Across the visible sky is run.
We too, of our lives, must make one day:
We never know, my Lydia, nor want
        To know of nights before or after
        The little while that we may last.
2.
To be great, be whole: nothing that's you
         Should you exaggerate or exclude.
In each thing, be all. Give all you are
         In the least you ever do.
The whole moon, because it rides so high,
         Is reflected in each pool.


Reprinted by permission of the Estate of Edouard Roditi.

Source: Poetry (October 1955).

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This poem originally appeared in the October 1955 issue of Poetry magazine

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October 1955
Ricardo Reis

Biography

Poet Fernando António Nogueira Pêssoa was born in Lisbon, Portugal. His father died when Pessoa was five years old, and the family moved with his mother’s new husband, a consul, to Durban, South Africa, where Pessoa attended an English school. At thirteen Pessoa returned to Portugal for a year-long visit, and returned there permanently in 1905. He studied briefly at the University of Lisbon, and began to publish criticism, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Time & Brevity, Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Trees & Flowers, Romantic Love

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