Sailing to Lisbon with Pesoa and Saramago

I was twelve on our second voyage through the same Mediterranean ports on the Greek Queen Anna Maria.

I went into a familiar cabin. It was soothing to follow the blue of sky and blue sea cut the circle of the window into two halves. They danced as I laid on my bed close to the ceiling.

Once every two or three days we would anchor in a port.

The horizon was gradually changing as we approached land; the meeting thin line of the two blues seemed rough; Patiently standing on deck and shrinking my eye lids I could see some grey blots developing. Darker grey shapes appeared, and only then colors. As we moored, I could hear people shout in the local language and the smell of food.

I walked with my parents to the castle  of Lisbon, with huge green trees. The light was  soft and falling beautifully  on chubby women who sat under them and embroidered white lace. I remember peacocks elegantly strolling around.

Next time I visited Portugal, I brought with me Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet and, The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, by Jose Saramago.

We fallowed the footprints of Pessoa and Ricardo Reis in the wet city.  As Pessoa and Reis, we chose a hotel close to the port.

Forty years later, I saw the exact same light I remembered:

“His passenger did not get the impression that there were many changes. The Avenue they followed was much as he remembered it, only the trees looked taller, and no wonder, for they had had sixteen years in which to grow.”

Literature and life became one.


Citation from: The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis, by  Jose Saramago, Havill press, London , 1984, p.7

Many years after, at 2012,  I create an art project that included sailing to Ithaca with messages to Odysseus and Penelope from my readers. It starts here.  There are 12 posts on the subject.



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