23 July 2012

To be great, be whole : Ricardo Reis (Fernando Pessoa)

dawning  ©fourteenth

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.

Ricardo Reis (Fernando Pessoa)


  1. i both understand and do not understand this. this has been a very important poem for me by gerard manley hopkins:

    As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
    As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
    Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
    Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
    Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
    Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
    Selves - goes itself, myself it speaks and spells,
    Crying What I do is me: for that I came."

    and yet i have a yearning to make small or drive the i out. i seem to be caught in a mighty contradiction. (are we all?)


  2. Contradictions are creative!

    (I've held Gerard Manley Hopkins dear since the first day I read poems of his as a teenager, in a small library -that no longer exists- in the British Council -in the heart of Athens.)


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