Beyond the bend in the road by Fernando Pêssoa

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Beyond the bend in the road
by Fernando Pêssoa

Beyond the bend in the road
there may be a well, a castle.
There may be simply more road.
I neither know nor ask.
As long as I’m on the road before the bend
I simply look at the road before the bend,
since I can see only the road before the bend.
It would do no good to look elsewhere
or at what I can’t see.
Let’s just concentrate on where we are.
There’s beauty enough in being here, not elsewhere.
If anyone’s there beyond the bend in the road,
let them worry about what’s beyond the bend in the road.
That is the road, to them.
If we arrive there when we arrive we’ll know.
Now we only know that we’re not there.
Here there’s only the road before the bend, and before the bend
there’s the road with no bend at all.

Translated by A. S. Kline © Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved

PHOTO: High mountain road in the national park of Peneda-Gerês National Park, Portugal. Photo by Zacarias Pereira Da Mata, used by permission.

NOTE: The Peneda-Gerês National Park, the only national park in Portugal, is located in the northwestern section of the country, in the Viana do CasteloBraga, and Vila Real Districts. The 270-square-mile park was created on May 8, 1971 to protect the area’s soil, water, flora, fauna, and landscape.

1024px-Pessoabaixa ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fernando Pêssoa was born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1888. In 1914, the year his first poem was published, Pessoa established the three main literary personas, or heteronyms, as he called them, that he used throughout his career: Alberto Caeiro, a rural, uneducated poet of great ideas who wrote in free verse; Ricardo Reis, a physician who composed formal odes influenced by Horace; and Álvaro de Campos, an adventurous London-based naval engineer influenced by poet Walt Whitman and the Italian Futurists. Pessoa published under his own name as well, but considered that work the product of an “orthonym,” another literary persona. He is believed to have used over 70 heteronyms. After his death in 1935, his work gained widespread publication and acclaim. In The Western Canon, critic Harold Bloom included Pessoa as one of the 26 writers responsible for establishing the parameters of western literature.

PHOTO: The author in Lisbon, Portugal, during the 1920s.

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