Be a Marian (from Santa Maria island)

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“I’m a little more of the island every day. I look at myself in the mirror and I am no longer as I came into the world. The sea rose to my knees, the lava washed over my waist, the heather slips up to my neck and my whole head dives into the sky that arches to the sea again. ”

Being on the island or not being on the island. If we all come from the sea, what does it matter to know where we are from? I ask myself, rather, if I deserve to be from this land. If I give it more than I get. If I’m up to it, in this stature that does not reach the feet of the first lava ball. I wonder, then, if it’s worth it, this idea of ​​belonging somewhere.

Every day I am more of the island and less of the tree from where I fell. My island this, my island that. My island for all matters that bring joy to the crooked path of being only human. Starting with my house on the island, with my daughter on the island, and my loves on the island. And to do away with my friends on the island, and my dreams on the island, and all the little things, mine and others, on the island that stops being just that, a thing stopped in the middle left of the sea, like the place of the heart of this world, surrounded by a round distance, which puts everything in the same place, at the same time everywhere.

Every day I am a little more of the island. I look at myself in the mirror and I am no longer as I came into the world. The sea rose to my knees, the lava took hold of the waist, the heather slips up to my neck and my whole head dives into the sky that arches to the sea, again. Maybe I need to fill some hole, some darkness lost inside me. They are spaces of our universe that expand, if we dream. Perhaps it is bigger than I think, this shadow that sometimes speaks of snow and granite, ground that I stepped when there were no wings on my head.

Each day, on a moment’s notice, I thank the first sense of the sun, in the nascent face of being on this side, with or without mist, when it is no longer worth sleeping, that the body needs to remember this agonized chronometer, fighting against the time we have left. Santa Maria has this life contract with Apollo: there is no morning that does not speak first to the vineyards of St. Lawrence, nor shadow that afternoon, to give us rest from the joy of counting the stones, which organized this world without music.

And if this island was no one’s, why should it be from whom it is born? This island should be just who dies in it. And knowing that I will die in it, one way or another, because it is no longer possible to leave it, I am from this island now as were all the people who have added anything, bones or tiles, words or songs to it. And if they tell me that I am not from this island, it is because they do not know these limits, that instead of curtailing our roots, they increase the solemn communion, of loving what gives us food. And if I feed on this island, it is because I deserve the water with which I water, the things that are to grow, even when they crawl, eating this island as sacred bread, in the broth of the divine mystery, to be love this belonging. Do not tell me I’m not a Marian because I was not born here. That I am not Azorean, because I do not have Azorean parents. I am not from this sea because I came from the mountains. Being a Marian and being from the other islands, from the middle, from below or from above, to be Azorean, in short, is much more than the hit of a white seal. It is a ceremony where we understand the things of this atlantic ocean, sacrificing our most intimate lambs, arranging the most precious prayers, for everything to be peaceful as on the first day, when there was life, whatever it may be, on this piece of land that we dedicate ourselves now, more than ever, tomorrow, much more than today. Belonging, finally, to some place, neighbor of paradise that awaits us.

Source: Escritores Online


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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