Rather the flight of the bird passing and leaving no trace
Than creatures passing, leaving tracks on the ground.
The bird goes by and forgets, which is as it should be.
The creature, no longer there, and so, perfectly useless,
Shows it was there—also perfectly useless.
Remembering betrays Nature,
Because yesterday’s Nature is not Nature.
What’s past is nothing and remembering is not seeing.
Fly bird, fly away; teach me to disappear.
Alberto Caeiro (pseud. of Fernando Pessoa)
The chief use of the ‘meaning’ of a poem, in the ordinary sense, may be…to satisfy one habit of the reader, to keep his mind diverted and quiet, while the poem does its work upon him: much as the imaginary burglar is always provided with a bit of nice meat for the house-dog. This is an ordinary situation of which I approve.
T. S. Eliot