In the Terrible Night

In the terrible night, natural substance of all nights,
In the night of insomnia, natural substance of all my
nights,
I remember, awake in tossing drowsiness,
I remember what I’ve done and what I might have
done in life.
I remember, and an anguish
Spreads all through me like a physical chill or a fear,
The irreparable of my past – this is the real corpse.
All other corpses may very well be illusion.
All the dead may be alive somewhere else,
All my own past moments may be existing somewhere
In the illusion of space and time,
In the fallibility of elapsing.

But what I was not, what I did not do, what I did not
even dream;
What only now I see I ought to have done,
What only know I clearly see I ought to have been –
This is what is dead beyond all the Gods,
this – and it was, after all, the best of me – is what not
even the Gods bring to life…

If at a certain point
I had turned to the left instead of to the right;
If at a certain moment
I had said yes instead of no, or no instead of yes;
If in a certain conversation
I had hit on phrases which only now, in this
half-sleep, I elaborate –
If all this had been so,
I would be different today, and perhaps the whole
universe
Would be insensibly brought to be different as well.

But I did not turn in the direction which is irreparably
lost,
Not turn or even think of turning, and only now I
perceive it;
But I did not say no or say yes, and only now see what
I didn’t say;
But all the phrases I failed to say surge up in me at present,
all of them,
Clear, inevitable, natural,
The conversation gathered in conclusively,
The whole matter now resolved…
But only now what never was, nor indeed shall be,
hurts.

What I have missed definitely holds no sort of hope
In any sort of metaphysical system.
Maybe I could bring what I have dreamed to some
other world,
But could I bring to another world the things I forgot
to dream?
These, yes, the drams going begging, are the real
corpse.
I bury it in my heart forever, for all time, for all universes,

In this night when I can’t sleep and peace encircles me
Like a truth which I’ve no share in,
And the moonlight outside, like a hope I do not have
is invisible to me

Fernando Pessoa

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