(Translation byRichard Zenith)
I donít know how many souls I have.
Iíve changed at every moment.
I always feel like a stranger.
Iíve never seen or found myself.
From being so much, I have only soul.
A man who has soul has no calm.
A man who sees is just what he sees.
A man who feels is not who he is.
Attentive to what I am and see,
I become them and stop being I.
Each of my dreams and each desire
Belongs to whoever had it, not me.
I am my own landscape,
I watch myself journey -
Various, mobile, and alone.
Here where I am I canít feel myself.
Thatís why I read, as a stranger,
My being as if it were pages.
Not knowing what will come
And forgetting what has passed,
I note in the margin of my reading
What I thought I felt.
Rereading, I wonder: ďWas that me?Ē
God knows, because he wrote it.
The Keeper of Sheep - I
Iíve never kept flocks,
But itís like Iíve kept them.
My soul is like a shepherd,
It knows the wind and the sun
And it walks hand in hand with the Seasons,
Following and seeing.
All the peace of Nature without people
Comes and sits at my side.
But I get sad
As the sunset is in our imagination
When it gets cold down in the plain
And you feel night coming in
Like a butterfly through the window.
But my sadness is quiet
Because itís natural and itís just
And itís what should be in my soul
When it already thinks it exists
And my hands pick flowers
And my soul doesnít know it.
Like the sound of cowbells
Beyond the curve of the road,
All my thoughts are peaceful.
Iím just sorry about knowing theyíre peaceful,
Because if I didnít know it,
Instead of them being peaceful and sad,
Theyíd be happy and peaceful.
Thinking makes you uncomfortable like walking in the rain
When the wind gets stronger and it seems to rain more.
I donít have ambitions or desires.
Being a poet isnít my ambition,
Itís my way of being alone.
And sometimes if I want
To imagine Iím a lamb
(Or a whole flock
Spreading out all over the hillside
So I can be a lot of happy things at the same time),
Itís only because I feel what I write at sunset,
Or when a cloud passes its hand over the light
And silence runs over the grass outside.
When I sit and write poems
Or, walking along the roads or pathways,
I write poems on the paper in my thoughts,
I feel a staff in my hand
And see my silhouette
On top of a knoll,
Looking after my flock and seeing my ideas,
Or looking after my ideas and seeing my flock,
With a silly smile like someone who doesnít understand what somebodyís saying
But tries to pretend they do.
I greet everyone who reads me,
I tip my wide hat to them
When they see me at my door
Just as the stagecoach comes to the top of my hill.
I greet them and wish them sunshine,
Or rain, when rain is needed,
And that their houses have
A favorite chair
Where they sit reading my poems
By an open window.
And when they read my poems, I hope they think
Iím something natural ó
An ancient tree, for instance,
Where they sat down with a thump
In the shade when they were kids
Tired from playing, and wiped the sweat
From their hot brows
With the sleeve of their striped cotton smock.
The Keeper of Sheep - V
Thereís enough metaphysics in not thinking about anything.
What do I think about the world?
I have no idea what I think about the world!
If I get sick Iíll think about that stuff.
What idea do I have about things?
What opinion do I have about cause and effect?
What have I meditated on God and the soul
And on the creation of the world?
I donít know. For me thinking about that stuff is shutting my eyes
And not thinking. Itís closing the curtains
(But my window doesnít have curtains).
The mystery of things? I have no idea what mystery is!
The only mystery is there being someone who thinks about mystery.
When youíre in the sun and shut your eyes,
You start not knowing what the sun is
And you think a lot of things full of heat.
But you open your eyes and look at the sun
And you canít think about anything anymore,
Because the sunís light is worth more than the thoughts
Of all philosophers and all poets.
The light of the sun doesnít know what itís doing
So itís never wrong and itís common and good.
Metaphysics? What metaphysics do those trees have?
Of being green and bushy and having branches
And of giving fruit in their own time, which doesnít make us think,
To us, who donít know how to pay attention to them.
But what better metaphysics than theirs,
Which is not knowing what they live for
Not even knowing they donít know?
ďInner constitution of things...Ē
ďInner meaning of the Universe...Ē
All that stuff is false, all that stuff means nothing.
Itís incredible that someone could think about things that way.
Itís like thinking reasons and purposes
When morning starts shining, and by the trees over there
A vague lustrous gold is driving the darkness away.
Thinking about the inner meaning of things
Is doing too much, like thinking about health when youíre healthy,
Or bringing a cup to a spring.
The only inner meaning of things
Is that they have no inner meaning at all.
I donít believe in God because I never saw him.
If he wanted me to believe in him,
Without a doubt he would come to talk with me
And come in my door
Telling me, Here I am!
(Maybe this is ridiculous to the ears
Of someone who, because they donít know what it is to look at things,
Doesnít understand someone who talks about them
With the way of speaking looking at them teaches.)
But if God is the flowers and the trees
And the hills and the sun and the moonlight,
Then I believe in him,
Then I believe in him all the time,
And my whole life is an oration and a mass,
And a communion with my eyes and through my ears.
But if God is the trees and the flowers
And the hills and the moonlight and the sun,
Why should I call him God?
I call him flowers and trees and hills and sun and moonlight;
Because if he made himself for me to see
As the sun and moonlight and flowers and trees and hills,
If he appears to me as trees and hills
And moonlight and sun and flowers,
Itís because he wants me to know him
As trees and hills and flowers and moonlight and sun.
And thatís why I obey him,
(What more do I know about God than God knows about himself?),
I obey him by living, spontaneously,
Like someone opening his eyes and seeing,
And I call him moonlight and sun and flowers and trees and hills,
And I love him without thinking about him,
And I think him by seeing and hearing,
And I walk with him all the time.
The Keeper of Sheep XXXIX
The mystery of things Ė where is it?
Why doesn't it come out
To show us at least that it's mystery?
What do the river and the tree know about it?
And what do I, who am no more than they, know about it?
Whenever I look at things and think about what people think of them,
I laugh like a brook cleanly plashing against a rock.
For the only hidden meaning of things
Is that they have no hidden meaning.
It's the strangest thing of all,
Stranger than all poets' dreams
And all philosophers' thoughts,
That things are really what they seem to be
And there's nothing to understand.
Yes, this is what my senses learned on their own:
Things have no meaning: they exist.
Things are the only hidden meaning of things.
The Keeper of Sheep XLVII
On an incredibly clear day,
The kind when you wish you'd done lots of work
So that you wouldn't have to work that day,
I saw Ė as if spotting a road through the trees Ė
What may well be the Great Secret,
That Great Mystery the false poets speak of.
I saw that there is no Nature,
That Nature doesn't exist,
That there are hills, valleys and plains,
That there are trees, flowers and grass,
That there are rivers and stones,
But that there is no whole to which all this belongs,
That a true and real ensemble
Is a disease of our own ideas.
Nature is parts without a whole.
This is perhaps the mystery they speak of.
This is what, without thinking or pausing,
I realized must be the truth
That everyone tries to find but doesn't find
And that I alone found, because I didn't try to find it.
The Keeper of Sheep II
My gaze is clear like a sunflower.
It is my custom to walk the roads
Looking right and left
And sometimes looking behind me,
And what I see at each moment
Is what I never saw before,
And Iím very good at noticing things.
Iím capable of feeling the same wonder
A newborn child would feel
If he noticed that heíd really and truly been born.
I feel at each moment that Iíve just been born
Into a completely new worldÖ
I believe in the world as in a daisy,
Because I see it. But I donít think about it,
Because to think is to not understand.
The world wasnít made for us to think about it
(To think is to have eyes that arenít well)
But to look at it and to be in agreement.
I have no philosophy, I have sensesÖ
If I speak of Nature itís not because I know what it is
But because I love it, and for that very reason,
Because those who love never know what they love
Or why they love, or what love is.
To love is eternal innocence,
And the only innocence is not to thinkÖ