27 Jun 2013

Its meanders of astonishment insomnia and shacks

And so here we are, at the third and final installment of my Portugese adventure. I went to Lisbon for a few days and sauntered about on my own and ate cheese rolls in the shade of a tree and ran my scarf under a cold tap to cool me down and walked for miles and miles and went out of the city to visit a castle or two. 

Here's a poem I saw inscribed on a bench. It sums up what Lisbon feels like:

I say “Lisbon”
When I arrive from the south and cross the river
And the city opens up as if born from its name
It opens and rises in its nocturnal vastness
In its long shimmering of blue and of river
In its rugged body of hills –
[I see it better because I say it
Everything is more clearly where it is
Everything shows more clearly what it lacks
Because I say]*
Lisbon with its name of being and nonbeing
With its meanders of astonishment insomnia and shacks
And its secret theatre sparkle
Its masklike smile of intrigue and complicity
While the wide sea stretches westward
Lisbon swaying like a sailing ship
Lisbon cruelly built next to its own absence
I say the city’s name
I say it to see

Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (1919-2004)
translated by Richard Zenith 

Some things I saw:
There's me on the right, just to prove I was there...
Trams and tiles and flowers.
 Supercool pulp titles.
 Even the bins (right) are pretty.
I FLIPPIN LOVE CUSTARD TARTS AND THESE WERE PERFECTION. I was not unhappy to be informed it was traditional to have a beer alongside.
A visit to the Castle at sunset (below etc).
There was a peacock at the castle that I got a bit stalky with...
...but can you blame me?
Things get more Narnia as the sun falls.
At Sintra.
Lisbon I love you.

*On the bench this part in brackets was not there but I liked it when I looked up the poem so I left it in.


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