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Fernando Pessoa Evening, composition commission and cello performance inspired by selected poems by Pessoa. Readings by Pessoa translator for Penguin Publishing Richard Zenith, London Festival of Europe, St Peter’s Church, London, 7 March 2008. This piece has been developed further with time but initially it was created as a response to the poem below:

- Pessoa -

I got off the train

And said good-bye to the man I’d met.

We’d been together for eighteen hours

And had a pleasant conversation,

Fellowship in the journey,

And I was sorry to get off, sorry to leave

This chance friend whose name I never learned.

I felt my eyes water with tears...

Every farewell is a death.

Yes, every farewell is a death.

In the train that we call life

We are all chance events in one another’s lives,

And we all feel sorry when it’s time to get off.


All that is human moves me, because I’m a man.

All that is human moves me not because I have an affinity

With human ideas or human doctrines

But because of my infinite fellowship with humanity itself.


The maid who hated to go,

Crying with nostalgia

For the house where she’d been mistreated...


All of this, inside my heart, is death and the world’s sadness.

All of this lives, because it dies, inside my heart.


And my heart is a little larger than the entire universe.


                                                4 July 1934

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