xxxix. the mystery of things, where is it

The mystery of things, where is it?
Where is that which never appears
To show us, at least, it’s a mystery?
What’s the river know about it and what, the tree?
And I, being no more than they, what do I know about it?
Whenever I look at things and think what men think of them,
I laugh like a brook freshly sounding off a rock.

Because the only hidden meaning of things
Is that they have no hidden meaning at all.
This is stranger than all the strangenesses,
And the dreams of all the poets,
And the thoughts of all the philosophers—
That things really are what they appear to be
And that there is nothing to understand.

Yes, here’s what my senses learned all by themselves:
Things have no meaning – they have existence.
Things are the only hidden meaning of things.

(Fernando Pessoa, writing as Alberto Caeiro, p. 97 in Edwin Honig & Susan M. Brown’s edition of The Keeper of Sheep.)

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