The other islands

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Those who live on an island want to know about their neighbors, the stone rafts, the bottles with messages, the wreckage of distance, the depth of the world. We are never really alone, we know that the volcanoes work for us, keeping the size of the other islands, adding stone on fire, fire on stone, so that the sea one day still asks permission, to cross this archipelago and to take the track of atlántida back home.

In Santa Maria we are also Micaelenses. However, the big island is far away, we do not get wings or arms, and we need the wide open eyes, the wind, the setting sun, the pumice stone, to believe that it is there. From time to time it looms like a tired back on the horizon. A dark blue that flows from the night, slow and silent like a sad beast. We are Michaelis in this waltz of waiting for the good things: already there goes the time of São Miguel to quench our thirst, but then the time of this island gives us almost everything else. There is no Marian who does not love someone on the other side in a safe and reciprocal love. In fact, the dream of every Marian is to have St. Michael in the place of the Islet of the Village, at a distance from a jump, a rush of bare feet, on the still water of a summer dream. We can wave at them in front of the mirror, and fire the helicopters, the planes, the boats, the freighters. To have São Miguel so close, but still with a rest of the sea, not to be so easy, to have access to what we need, just so that it continues to be lacking, and we give it that value, that all things have, if not we are given free of charge.

In this first island, we miss the longing of the other islands. After São Miguel there is a whole volcanic world that does not fit the horizon. It is there, in the middle, on top, it rains first of all, warning us of the bad weather, which always descends down the stairs, until the terreiro floods us, that the whole South is. Thank goodness, the rain arrives tired, always tired, of so much beautiful thing that each island has hanging on the sea. There is no love like this, being Azorean in an archipelago that can not be seen all that lingers in the afternoon sun, so much that we all fall asleep first than the Raven and the Flowers. But we are nothing without each other. Without pride, without modesty, without entanglement. We are roots of Portugal, growing upwards, as long as there is heaven that can endure, this lyre of two hearts, sighing for the other, that will always come with new graces, to entertain us in solitude.

Daniel Gonçalves

Photos of Inês Cabral


About Author

Daniel Gonçalves nasceu em Wetzikon, cantão suíço de Zurique, em 1975. Vive na ilha açoriana de Santa Maria, onde é professor de português do ensino básico e secundário, desde 1999. É de todos os lugares onde acordou e adormeceu, mas é em Santo Tirso onde tudo começa e acaba, e em Santa Maria onde tudo acaba e começa. Publicou o primeiro livro de poesia em 2000, participou em diversas antologias e revistas literárias. A sua obra foi reconhecida por diversas vezes, destacando-se o Prémio Revelação de Poesia da Associação Portuguesa de Escritores APE/IPLB 1997, o Prémio de Poesia Cesário Verde 2003 e o Prémio Labjovem: Jovens Criadores dos Açores 2009.

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