This Portuguese Sea

The sea is for me

Fernando Pessoa, Portugal’s poetry genius, in his mother tongue writes of the 16th century Portuguese sea conquests:

Ó mar salgado, quanto do teu sal

 São lágrimas de Portugal!

Por te cruzarmos, quantas mães choraram,

Quantos filhos em vão rezaram!

Quantas noivas ficaram por casar

Para que fosses nosso, ó mar!

Valeu a pena? Tudo vale a pena

Se a alma não é pequena.

Quem quer passar além do Bojador

Tem que passar além da dor.

Deus ao mar o perigo e o abismo deu,

Mas nele é que espelhou o céu


Oh salty sea, so much of your salt

is the tears of Portugal!

For us to have crossed you, how many mothers have wept,

How many sons have cried in vain,

How many brides remained unwed,

So that you were ours, oh sea.

Was it worthwhile?  Everything is worthwhile,


so long as the soul is not small.

He who wants to pass beyond the cape,

must pass beyond the pain.

Depth and danger to the sea were God given,

but in it he has reflected heaven.


The sea has always inspired.  Last weekend Camilla invited me to accompany her on an Algarvian adventure, assisting and posing as needed during her photo shoot aboard the  BELIZE catamaran.  Having abstained the past two years from visiting this tourist pocket of Portugal, I felt my wait was well worth it, as our view from the sea to land was spectacular.  Sandstone cliffs and age-old water-weathered rocks carved into beautiful sea sculptures, floating amid an emerald green liquid backdrop.  The hot Algarivan sun conquering.  The town, a whitewashed former Arab enclave, quelling secrets from the past in the cool shadows of narrow walkways.  Whispers.  Breezes.  Fig trees and olives.  Fresh fish and feeling in my skin.  At last.  





















Gil, the shy Portuguese water dog  





Fresh figs!


~ by maureenmoore on June 7, 2009.

One Response to “This Portuguese Sea”

  1. Beautiful poetry, beautiful pictures!

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