Voices: Jerónimo Pizarro, Jorge Louraço, Luís Miguel Nogueira Rosa Dias, Manuela Nogueira, Richard Zenith, Leonor Forjaz, Manuela Parreira da Silva and Sofia Saldanha
“All Will See” by Hyson
Free Music Archive / License – Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
“Nocturne Op 9 No 2” by Podington Bear
Free Music Archive / Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0)
“Chuva Oblíqua”, Poesias, Fernando Pessoa (Nota explicativa de João Gaspar Simões e Luiz de Montalvor.) Lisboa: Ática, 1942 (15ª ed. 1995). – 27-34.
1ª publ. in Orpheu, nº 2. Lisboa: Abr.-Jun. 1915.
[Carta a João Gaspar Simões - 11 Dez. 1931]
Textos de Crítica e de Intervenção . Fernando Pessoa. Lisboa: Ática, 1980.
1ª publ. in “Presença”, nº 48. Coimbra: Julho. 1936.
* Free translation by Eugenia Brito
1. My backyard takes up the whole theater, my childhood
Street sounds, seagulls, footsteps, music
Sofia: We are in Largo de São Carlos, previously Largo do Directório. On one side of the square is the National Opera. But look at the building opposite. At number 4, on the fourth floor on the left, a boy was born. It was the afternoon of Saint Anthony's Day, June 13, 1888.
Jerónimo Pizarro: He made calculations to assess the time he was conceived, and so to understand at what time, he as mere sperm, reached the maternal womb. He used astrology to calculate the date of his conception.
Church bells, seagulls
Jerónimo Pizarro: He wasn’t sure in exactly what minute he was born, but the truth is that he made horoscopes to try to calculate when he was going to die and those horoscopes seem to be correct.
Sofia: This boy, who would become interested in the enigmas of the world, was born in the bosom of a bourgeois and catholic family. He was baptized in Basílica dos Mártires, right next door.
Jerónimo Pizarro: That’s why he listens to the chiming of the bells, the bells of my village.
Fernando Pessoa: The church bell of my village is the bell from the Church of the Martyrs, in Chiado. The village of my birth was the São Carlos Square.
Luís Miguel Rosa Dias: He had a very close relationship with his mother, my grandmother.
Manuela Nogueira: My grandmother was very cultured. My mother’s mother, his mother, was a highly educated woman for the times. Because she could speak both English and French fluently and she played the piano beautifully and she wrote verses.
Richard Zenith: Pessoa's father worked at the Ministry of Justice, but he also wrote music reviews for the Diário de Notícias. He was passionate about music, and they lived, perhaps not by chance, in a building overlooking the Teatro de São Carlos, the Opera House, which was Fernando Pessoa's father favourite form of music.
Door opening and closing, outside sounds, seagulls, horse-drawn carriage, cars
Luís Miguel Rosa Dias: The people who lived in that flat opposite the Opera House, along with a maid of a certain age, were his mother and father, and his grandmother Dionísia who had serious attacks of madness.
Richard Zenith: She was the mother of Fernando Pessoa's father. And it was rather complicated to deal with her because she suffered from dementia. According to the first biographer, the disease was called rotating dementia, meaning she was sometimes more or less well, but then there would be phases in which she was not well at all.
Luís Miguel Rosa Dias: So every once in a while she was sent to the asylum at Rilhafoles, directly to the emergency room where people went when they had madness attacks.
Richard Zenith: Because she would break everything in the house - dishes, glasses, other objects And then there was another sad factor, his father's disease which was tuberculosis.
Manuela Nogueira: His father fell ill, he was very sick, there in Largo de São Carlos, then he went to a farm, now it is Caneças, Telheiras, around that area. And he went there to heal himself, as it was thought that fresh air would do it. There was nothing for tuberculosis then.
Manuela Nogueira: I wonder what he felt having to see his father so sick and far away, going with his mother in a horse-drawn carriage. It was such a long distance back then. And from time to time he stayed there, because at that time the real danger of tuberculosis wasn’t known.
Music, bells, owls, crickets
Sofia: From the marriage of Maria Madalena and Joaquim another boy was born, Jorge. Fernando was four years old at the time.
Richard Zenith: Then Fernando's father died, 6 months later, and this small family, Fernando, his mother, and Fernando's little brother, Jorge, moved to a smaller house. But then Jorge also died, less than one year old.
Music, street sound
Richard Zenith: It was around that time that Fernando Pessoa's mother met who was to become her second husband, João Miguel Rosa. They were very fond of each other, and it became a very strong relationship.
Sofia: João Miguel Rosa was appointed consul in South Africa, and so the marriage had to be by proxy. His brother attended in his place. It was a long journey to South Africa and his mother thought of travelling alone and leaving little Fernando with the family. But the boy did not want to stay, he wanted to go with her. This love was declared in a poem:
Here I am in Portugal
Land where I was born
Although I really like it
I love you so much more *
Manuela Parreira da Silva: This story was told, I don't know if it's true, but it is said that after hearing the poem, his mother was so moved that she wasn't able to leave him behind. But perhaps this is just a story, because she probably realized that she wasn't able to leave him, she felt sorry about leaving him, and he eventually went along with them.
Richard Zenith: Soon after the wedding Pessoa´s mother, Fernando and a great-uncle, Uncle Cunha, all went to South Africa.
Sofia: Fernando Pessoa would live in South Africa until he was 17. We shall hear all about that in the next episode. We are gonna go now to Praça Luís de Camões.