My favourite saying is ‘Travel makes you think‘ and when you think about where you are and how you feel about it, invariably it can be hard to describe. It is then I will always dream up a poem.
Lisbon was one of those places. I was lucky enough to spend a few days there last year.
Tram trips, Shopping bits, Eating stew, Music on the side. Sleepy time
Mmm??? Give me a little time to take a few notes.
If there is no memory – there is no future. We have had a lovely time here in Lisbon, enjoyed the Sardines, the beautiful, spectacular architecture, and soaked up the atmosphere of a vibrant, cosmopolitan European city. However, this morning we felt we wanted to know more about the people and their history and took ourselves off to the Museum which was housed in the prison where their political prisoners were interrogated and locked up in the most in-humane conditions.
My friend Christine and I have spent the last three days on a high but today we had to come down a notch, in fact a number of notches. How did I feel coming out of this place? Bloody Bloody Angry. Angry for the people who did not know freedom, suffered the scaremongering, were afraid to talk to their neighbours, afraid for the safety of their families and children. Yeah, Travelling can make you angry too.
My mother-in-law used to whinge about how she suffered during the war, it all seems so pathetic now, compared to what these people went through, and not so long ago. This was going on in Portugal right up into the early ’70s. When I was in the UK ,living my life of freedom. All that I knew, or cared about of Portugal was that it was attached to Spain and my parents went on holiday there.
Today, thankfully I know different, I care more, I care because I think understanding history makes you a better person. I am European and proud, well that is until us Brits leave the EU, I really don’t know, but if I hear another person moan about the EU and the shape of vegetables and fruit, I will explode. I feel lifted. Knowledge and clarity do that to you, the people here have a desire to hold up their heads, they smile and serve you with enthusiasm. Maybe it is because some of them know what the value of freedom still means. To hold out the hand of friendship shows trust. We need to reciprocate. I have unfortunately read some awful social media posts lately as we approach the exit from the EU. I have heard racist remarks that have made my blood boil from ignorant nasty people. It makes me feel we are turning our back on Europe. Whether we are or not in real terms, I feel we send that message and I have no wish to be part of that.
Sitting in the café in the museum after, I posed a question to Christine.
‘If you lived through this, who would you rather be, A prisoner or a Policeman?“
We both said, prisoner. Yep, whatever the consequences, we would never give up on the fight for freedom or liberty.
That was last year and Brexit talks have been overtaken by the words Covid and lockdown’s and US presidential elections. But there is one word that will never change or be taken from humanity and that is Freedom. Freedom to voice our opinions, to sing or dance in the street whether we wear a mask or not, The freedom to move about from place to place, country to continent. Freedom will always be desired by all……… So on another note, here is a poem. The one that I wrote whilst sitting in a coffee bar just down from the political prison in Lisbon an a sunny afternoon..
We listen less, to talk of life,
Our utmost stress, we put aside.
An aimless wander, tread with care,
streets and corners lead us there.
True to ages, we distance dance,
History gazes, just a fleeting glance.
music playing on the wall,
music carries, lifting all.
I close my eyes to travel back,
crossing cobbles and tram tracks,
But color paints a perfect time.
Breathless, stating time divine.
Run your fingers along the stone.
Lisbon listens , You are never alone
Winter spring or any season.
A sunset blurs, an image sets.
Behind a towering ancient roof
Look up, to where our eyes have met,
and feel the wonder of the truth.
We listen less when trials of life,
Bring images of stress
We walk along the river side.
To breath the air of best.