At the Castle, windows open widely with a view to your hills. Seven labyrinthine paths, where voices hand over the place to echoes and the silences make each and every word mute in the lips of who peeps on you, unveiling the mystery you hide in each one of your corners.
And the brightness that magnetizes in the look of those who pass is a witness to the dizziness caused by your fragile beauty of old wise and respectable lady, once a starting point to the discovery of new beyond-seas worlds, in search of gold and spices.
Nowadays, admirers are the ones that come in search of you, demanding the radiance of other golds and other spices. Your sun is the gold that shines calmly in the late afternoon, in the tranquillity of that interlude between the day and the night. The odours that you exhibit in the surprised expression of those of discover you are your spices.
In the coffee shops and esplanades, a plethora of voices rises and discusses this, that and any other theme. Conversations grab each other and spread in a scent of felt ambiguities. Arguments are lost and won in mild dialogues. One asks the waiter for a “bica”. A “pastel de nata” also helps sweetening the tone of chosen words. Several sentences are left unfinished. Are left half-finished leading to other conversations. The open newspaper on top of the table and serenely skimmed, with no haste in reading it attentively.
From the “Graça”, at the terrace, they speak of you in several languages enhancing the shape of colours painted in the pediment of your houses, red incandescent fire written upon your roofs.
At “Santa Catarina”, beyond “Chiado”, they are delighted with the canoes that navigate in the “Tejo”, wondering where its’ mellifluous and lagging tides lead.
Second hand booksellers at the “Rua do Alecrim” discretely dyeing their soul with rare books’ pages, yellowed by time travels. The hotels of the long “Avenida”, where spies conjured intrigues that made Germans loose the war, are still there, in the archipelagos of memory, as well as the love that was intensely lived, often for one night, because the next day might never take place.
In the “Terreiro”, the pigeons of the Paço nibble the floor searching for corn that those who live in you, old lady, kindly offer them. If you were a woman instead of a town, eternal would be the nights in which you would become the centre of all attentions with the infinity of stories that you lodge and that, by chastity, only by chastity and fidelity to those that in you have lived, you silently hold.
But day after day, night after night, those who do not sleep dream you in the colloquial intimacy of bars and restaurants’ sumptuosity.
And, as they see the sunrise reflected in the waters of your companion river, they cry out that, definitely, you are desperately a love affair.
Translated by Maria Alcaparra