Which Is Neither Here Nor There

-for Fernando Pessoa

A donkey-cart passes, on the road toward Sintra, which is only
Where the road goes, because it's just that kind of road,
And if it were another kind, that wouldn't make it
Another kind, that would only make it the same
Road it is when it's different; to the old man going home
With his cart full at nightfall, this road
Could be different, but it would still go where it goes.
The road toward Sintra simply goes toward Sintra, and if it went
Elsewhere, it wouldn't be going elsewhere,
It would only be going, no matter what place it goes.
One who stands by the roadside just stands by the roadside.
He could always stand elsewhere, but then he'd just be standing there.
As the road goes toward Sintra, going back to where it came from,
Back toward where it started, in the same way that it came,
It could always take another way, but that wouldn't take it
Another way, that would only take it the same
Road back that made its way here, the road
Out of Sintra, because that's the way it's made.
Tonight I'm by the roadside, without wishing it were otherwise.
Without wishing that being different weren't the same as being the same.
If I'm filled with a sense of hope, that is simply what I'm filled with.
If the stars are overhead, that is only where they are.
If I'm smiling at what I'm seeing, because that's what the case is,
Because even if it wasn't, that would only be the case,
This could always be otherwise, but I wouldn't see it
Otherwise, that would simply make it a case
Of having to smile at my blindness; like an old man going home
On a dark road at day's end, my case
Could be blindness, but I would still know what I know.
A donkey-cart passes, going back to where it came from, over the road
Almost at nightfall, because it's just that time of day,
And being the way we are, and never the way we can't be,
Never the way that stays by going back the way it came,
This may not make us dance, but that only makes
Us human, as human
As the dance we do, in silence
And in holiness, beside the road
Into Sintra, which is only where it goes.

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