This is a poem that sits under a tree in the hushed gardens of Castelo de São Jorge. For some reason it really caught my eye and I spent quite some time there just looking at the words, trying to understand, trying to get the gist of meaning. A kind Brazilian man saw me looking and came over and read the poem to me, first in Portuguese and then in English. I was entranced.
Perhaps it is because I have always felt a connection to trees, perhaps that it was a special moment in a quiet place. Perhaps it is because the poem says something so important so simply. To protect the enviroment is to protect ourselves.
Tu que passas e ergues para mim o teu braço,
Antes que me faças mal. Olha me bem.
Eu sou o calor do teu lar nas noites frias de inverno
Eu sou a sombra amiga que tu encontras
Quando caminhas sob o sol de agosto
E os meus frutos são a frescura apetitosa
Que te sacia a sede nos caminhos.
Eu sou a trave amiga da tua casa, a tábua da tua mesa,
A cama em que descansas e o lenho do teu barco
Eu sou o cabo da tua enxada a porta da tua morada,
A madeira do teu berço e do teu próprio caixão
Eu sou o pão da bondade e a flor da beleza
Tu que passas, olha-me bem e não faças mal
Veiga Simões, Arganil, Maio de 1914
Veiga Simões was a brilliant Portuguese politician, diplomat, writer and journalist.
To the person who passes through this place
You that pass and raise your arm to me
before you hurt me, look at me well.
I am the heat of your home in the cold winter nights.
I am the friendly shade that you find
when walking under the August sun
And my fruits are appetizing freshness
That satisfy your thirst on the way.
I am the friendly beam of your house, the board of your table
the bed in which you rest and the wood of your boat.
I am handle of your hoe, the door of your dwelling
the wood of your cradle and of your own coffin.
I am the bread of goodness and the flower of beauty.
You that pass, look at me well and do no harm.