It’s the poet we love in Caeiro, not the philosopher. What we really get from these poems is a childlike sense of life, with all the direct materiality of the child’s mind, and all the vital spirituality of hope and increase that exist in the body and soul of nescient childhood. Caeiro’s work is a dawn that wakes us up and quickens us; a more that material, more than anti-spiritual dawn. It’s an abstract effect, pure vacuum, nothingness.
I consider a dream like I consider a shadow,” answered Caeiro, with his usual divine, unexpected promptitude. “A shadow is real, but it’s less real than a rock. A dream is real — if it weren’t, it wouldn’t be a dream — but less real than a thing. That’s what being real is like.
His conception of the universe is, however, instinctive, not intellectual; it can't be criticized as a concept, because there’s none there, and it can't be criticized as temperament, because temperament can't be criticized.
When I’m depressed, I read Caeiro — he’s my fresh air. I become very calm, content, faithful — yes, I find faith in God, and in the soul’s transcendent living smallness, after reading the poems by that ungodly anti-humanist who goes unsurpassed on earth.
The Amorous Shepherd is a fruitless interlude, but those few poems are among the world’s greatest love poems, because they’re love poems about love, not about being poems. The poet loves because he loves, not because love exists.
he woman Caeiro fell in love with. I have no idea who she was, and I intend to never find out, not even out of curiosity. There are things of which the soul refuses to lose its ignorance. I’m perfectly aware no one’s obliged to reciprocate love, and great poets have nothing to do with being great lovers. But there’s a transcendent spite... Let her remain anonymous even to God!