Posteado por: Concha Huerta | 01/04/2010

Nostalgic Lisbon

(Post translated by M. da Silva from the Spanish Desde Lisboa)

The last sun rays of twilight taint the centenary blue tiles of the facades that border the estuary with hues of amber. Quiet facades. Privileged witnesses to the thirst of conquest, with their narrow doors and balconies ripped by hands clutched in waiting. Behind the blue and white paving flow the restless waters of the wide river which, in spring, transport aromas of strawberries and cherry trees and, in autumn, cork-tree blades that disappear in the cold, deep currents of the ocean.

Senhor Bernardo struggles to climb the steep pavement. The heat and the humidity begin to relent at sunset, livening his short footsteps. To the sides storefronts mottled with old books, pumps and tailors. Further up, foreign brands on bright facades built after the great fire. The street leads to a square that homes a cracked elm and a terrace flooded by the scents of coffee and spices.

Lisbon has a certain number of eating establishments in which, on top of a respectable-looking tavern, there’s a regular dining room with the solid and homey air of a restaurant in a small trainless town. In these first-floor dining rooms, fairly empty except on Sundays, one often comes across odd sorts, unremarkable faces, a series of asides in life. (Fernando Pessoa. The Book of Disquiet)

Senhor Bernardo falls on a chair, uncovers his forehead and wipes the sweat off his head with a linen handkerchief. A waiter greets him with a bica and two pasteis de nata. He sips his drink whilst searching amongst strangers’ eyes for the face of one of his absent companions.  He opens a black notebook and gives in to his memories.

In these random impressions, and with no desire to be other than random, I indifferently narrate my factless auto-biography, my lifeless history. These are my Confessions, and if in them I say nothing, it’s because I have nothing to say. 

The night falls over the city and the bustle of cars and men fades away. A guitar accompanies a torn chant which is lost in the sea breeze blowing towards the horizon. The stars twinkle over the shadow covered hills and melt into thousands of light bulbs on the metal structure linking the city to its destiny. The echo of a lonesome cock, lost in an inner patio, breaks, now and then, the silence of daybreak.


Homage to Bernardo Soares, Fernando Pessoa ‘s alter ego in «The book of Disquiet«,  a master piece by the great Portuguese poet. Edited and translated by Richard Zenith. Penguin Classics. USA 2.001.

Notes: Bica, small cup of strong coffee; Pasteis de nata, traditional Portuguese custard tart.

Deja una respuesta

Introduce tus datos o haz clic en un icono para iniciar sesión:

Logo de

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Salir /  Cambiar )

Foto de Facebook

Estás comentando usando tu cuenta de Facebook. Salir /  Cambiar )

Conectando a %s


A %d blogueros les gusta esto: