14. I know not what tomorrow will bring *

 

Prazeres Cemetery / Campo de Ourique

Prazeres Cemetery ambient sound

 

Sofia: You should now be at Prazeres Cemetery. It was created in the nineteenth century after an outbreak of cholera. In 2016, the remains of Ofélia Queiroz were transferred here. Pessoa was here too.

 

Music

 

[00:00:23.06]

 

Luís Miguel Rosa Dias: My mother always said, "Fernando died of cirrus." Cirrus was cirrhosis, because he drunk, but no one had ever seen him drunk or anything.

 

Manuela Nogueira: His was the first death in my life, and so it was a horrible thing.

 

Luís Miguel Rosa Dias: At that time we were living in our house in São João do Estoril. He was still living in the house in Campo de Ourique, but he used to visit the family. And we, my sister and I, were always waiting for the little presents he brought and all that.

 

Manuela Nogueira: And then when my mother’s birthday was about to come, it was on the 27th of November, Fernando sent a telegram.

 

Luís Miguel Rosa Dias: My mother had slipped there in the garden, had broken one leg. And meanwhile there was a kind of a cyclone in our house in São João do Estoril and damages were such that the telephone lines were ripped out and had burst or something like that.

 

[00:01:26.16]

 

Manuela Nogueira: And my mother turned to my father and said, 'Oh Chico,' my father was Francisco, 'Chico something has happened to Fernando, because Fernando sent a telegram and he hasn't shown up. So my father got into the train and hurried to Lisbon. And he knocked at the door of Dona Viginia Sena Pereira, who lived next door, and was related to Jorge de Sena, and no one answered Fernando's door. And D. Virginia, one of them said 'Oh Fernando went to the hospital yesterday because he wasn’t feeling well'. So my father went running to São Luís hospital and that was when he saw that he wasn't well. He was not well, but it was not so bad that you’d think he die. And so my father left, and he reassured my mother. That he was being well treated, he had just  a little colic, and those kinds of things you say. And that was it, he died soon after. The whole thing was very sudden, my mother’s birthday was on 27th and he died on 30th.

 

Luís Miguel Rosa Dias: He must have had acute pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis is something that even today with the current analyses and all these things is sometimes difficult to diagnose. And since no autopsy was done.

 

Manuela Nogueira: It was a huge sorrow for my mother, enormous sorrow. And I, when I realized that uncle Fernando had died… I was in the garden at the front door, that is still there, I couldn't go in, I couldn't. And then the maid who was there, I remember perfectly well, she was a very fat woman, came to call me several times' Girl, come and have lunch, come and have lunch”. I didn't want to go in. Later, I realized, I didn't want to face my mother's sadness. And then, like everything else, you had to accept it.

 

[00:03:41.01]

 

The funeral had quite a few people. Men, because at that time women not usde to… well, women didn't generally go to funerals. They went to church to pray for the dead. And if you see the photograph, well it's only men who come out of the church with the urn.

 

Sofia: The coffin came out of the chapel of Prazeres Cemetery and went to the family grave. His grandmother Dionísia is still there.

 

Seagulls

 

Pablo Javier Pérez López: When we talk about Pessoa and talk about death, the first thing that I think of is that he was suicidal. Suicidal in the sense that, among the race of poets, and poet-thinkers, like Pessoa himself and other portuguese poets who were suicidal, many of them, Manuel Larangeira, Florbela Espanca, Antero de Quental, Mário de Sá-Carneiro, Pessoa was one of them and he was a suicidal and a thinker-poet as well as his great master Antero de Quental. As were some of his proto-heteronyms and semi-heteronyms, such as the Baron of Teive. The Baron of Teive writes the Education of the Stoic, which is the only work from Baron of Teive, where he explains why there is no reason to continue living and why he decides to commit suicide. But at the same time, I also think that Pessoa wants to find a meaning in life, and does not find the meaning in love, or he does not try to find the meaning in love, with Ofélia, because he is very dedicated to finishing a very well made work, very neat, perfect, but he cannot complete that either, because the work is too fragmentary, as we’ve seen. So in a world, in a life where he finds no meaning, where he finds no comfort, death appears as liberating. And it is present in all his work, more deeply in the second part of his work.

 

Prazeres Cemetery ambient sound; birds singing

 

[00:05:50.24]

 

Jerónimo Pizarro: I don’t know, I feel that he was never afraid of death, that he has always admitted that death could be a gateway to other worlds.

 

Steffen Dix: If we imagine or if we think that our life is not a reality, that it is a dream, our death is also a dream, it doesn’t really exist. Or it can also continue in another life, after death, in another reincarnation and this is an interesting thing in Pessoa, he knew all these theories and all the thoughts. And Pessoa was very interested in the topic.

 

Pablo Javier Pérez López: And a time comes when he has no illusions, he has no desire to continue, and I think that is when he starts drinking a lot and when he is no longer afraid of death, I think he dies without fear and that he knows he is going to die because he is a slow and lucid suicidal case. Asking for his glasses before he dies - that’s a great metaphor for lucidity, isn’t it? How do you want to get into the other world.

 

Steffen Dix: On the last day, knowing perfectly well that he was going to die, that last sentence I think explains everything "I know not what tomorrow will bring", that is, I do not know what will happen tomorrow, knowing perfectly well that he would die, I think that explains everything.

 

Pablo Javier Pérez López: There are some of his statements, such as the one where he said, "If you want to do a biography there are only two dates, birth and death”. Except that Pessoa had a life, he was a man. There is Pessoa, the man, and Pessoa the author of books. There he was the man who would go to the ironing services and ask for his very white shirts, very well-groomed, the man who had friends, who talked to people, who had a job, who usually typed his poems at night in the office

 

Typewriter

 

 

[00:08:04.18]

 

Who went to Abel to refill

 

Tram; typewriter

 

The person who goes by tram to accompany Oféia to the door of her sister's house. And Pessoa who is thinking, writing, reading, very exalted while people sleep, and looks out the window and sees Lisbon outside

 

Street sounds; seagulls

 

And there’s also Pessoa as a resident of Lisbon, and because it is a city that still preserves its essence, in the historical sense, its streets, its places

 

Church bells

 

And conserves the old things, the old-fashioned way, you can perceive and imagine him walking these streets today. And that's what I wanted to say, the work and life is something almost completely unique, but Pessoa was a man, that's what matters.

 

 

Street sounds

 

Sofia: Pessoa’s body was in Prazeres Cemetery, in the family grave for 50 years. In 1985, on the 13th of June, he was transferred to the Jerónimos Monastery and, for now, he is still there. He is in the north wing of the lower cloister. We are almost at the end of our tour. The next and last episode does not have a location associated. So you feel free to listen whenever and wherever you fancy.

 

 

Voices: Luís Miguel Nogueira Rosa Dias, Manuela Nogueira, Pablo Javier Pérez López, Jerónimo Pizarro, Steffen Dix and Sofia Saldanha

 

Music:

Tout se transforme (réinterprété par johnny_ripper) by julsy

Free Music Archive / License – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0).

 

Bibliography:

* I know not what tomorrow will bring: last sentence written by Fernando Pessoa on 29 November 1935

 

Prazeres Cemetery / Campo de Ourique
Prazeres Cemetery / Campo de Ourique
Prazeres Cemetery / Campo de Ourique
Prazeres Cemetery / Campo de Ourique