Diary of the Plague Year: Day 37 21 April 2020: Quotidian Poetry Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935)

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ADVICE

Surround with tall walls whoever you dream you are.
Then, where the garden can be seen
Through the gate with its bestowing bars,
Place whatever flowers are the most smiling,
So they may know you only like that.
Where no one will see it, plant nothing.

Make flowerbeds like the ones other people have
Where glances may glimpse your garden,
Such as you are going to show it to them.
But where you are yours and it is seen by no one,
Let the flowers that come from the ground grow
And let the natural grasses flourish.

Make of yourself a two-fold guarded being;
And may no one who might see or watch
Know more of who you are than a garden –
A garden conspicuous and set-apart,
Behind which the native flower brushes
Grass so poor that not even you can see it …