Lisbon rains

17 Jan


Yesterday was absolutely brilliant blue sky, but today we awoke to overcast and gray clouds. George, ever the optimist, insisted when we went out that it wouldn’t rain, so we didn’t go back for an umbrella. Of course, we then had to stop in a sweet little shop to buy one, as it started to come down in big gloppy drops. We had planned to go to Estoril this afternoon–an AA meeting there at 7 p.m.–but I really didn’t want to slog around in a lovely beach town in soggy weather. Thankfully, we have enough time in Portugal that we can postpone a visit to the coastal communities until it’s a nice day–and hope that we do get some sunshine again. Perhaps this is why this cat is always sleeping in the chair lisboncat_asleepnext to the heater.

This weather might also explain the Portuguese character: much more somber and dignified than I expected, melancholic, friendly but not exuberant–just as scholars try to describe the nature of fado, the Portuguese national music, filled with saudade, a longing for place. Being such a literary people, with so many revered poets, surely they have produced some interesting poems with rain as a metaphor for something, I thought.  But searching for Portuguese poems under that subject, the ones I found were for the most part so depressing that I didn’t feel like sharing them. About the best I could find was this one about cloudy skies by Carlos Oliveira:

The afternoon was striving
without a sound
in the happy realm of its high clouds,
shimmerings and shudderings,
the tenuous vibrations
of the world,
when I
saw the poem put together on the heights
reflected here,
in rhythms, patterns, structures
of a syntax bringing forth bright
airy things – like wind and light.


(I’m sure this sounds beautiful in Portuguese:
A tarde trabalhava
sem rumor
no âmbito feliz das suas nuvens,
citilações e frémitos,
as ténues vibrações
do mundo,
quando vi
o poema organizado nas alturas
reflectir-se aqui,
em ritmos, desenhos, estruturas
duma sintaxe que produz
coisas aéreas como o vento e a luz.)


 And another short one:


Yes, yesterday rained
Rained a rain that was fine
And today I miss already
The drumming in the old window
By the drops of the rain that was mine.
–Eduardo Jauch


Given this dearth, I asked George if he could come up with a haiku-ish kind of poem. Here is his tanka for the day:


Not a silent snow

Not a dark, pounding downpour
Just a Lisbon light rain
Drips from terracotta eaves —
Lets just stay in and make love

Not bad for an afternoon attempt, eh?  And on that note, I’ll finish with a photo of brilliant sun on the Tagus River, just yesterday. More characteristic of Lisbon?


3 Responses to “Lisbon rains”

  1. Cyndy January 27, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    Fado music is indeed melancholic and, oh so beautiful.

  2. Martha February 19, 2016 at 9:04 am #

    Have you healed from the thieves?

    • esauboeck February 19, 2016 at 9:42 am #

      Did you see my latest entry about the whole ”incident”? We’re getting there! The worst loss now is my eyeglasses! I have an old pair that I really can’t see out of very well, and my sunglasses, so I’m walking around in shades all the time! I should have a new pair by next week.

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