To the Wall of Gerês

I have been to Portugal many times, due to my activities. Beautiful country, welcoming people. The land of the nostalgic Amália Rodrigues (1920-1999), who was “taken by God” not long ago. I always enjoyed listening to her singing this fado (Portuguese folk song), to the sound of highly tuned and weeping guitars. By the way, it is told that she didn’t want to record it. However, she reconsidered, and it was a huge success. Lucky Amália! That reminds me of another story, of some famous Hollywood artists that refused to interpret the main role of nothing less than “Casablanca”. Lucky Humphrey Bogart!

One of those trips happened in 1994, after Dr. Jose Aparecido de Oliveira, the Brazilian Ambassador in that sister country at that time, calling me at home, fraternally “summoned” me to watch the launching of the fundamental stone of Fundação Luso-Brasileira do Mundo de Língua Portuguesa (Lusitanian-Brazilian Foundation of the Portuguese Language World) in the Lusitanian capital. Among several personalities of Portugal, Africa and Brazil, the eminent architect, Oscar Niemeyer, was also present, with his calm and affectionate voice and his great heart passionate for the social causes.

After the solemnity, the Ambassador introduced me to Dr. Jorge Sampaio, who in that occasion presided the Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (Lisbon Municipality Chamber). Today, he is the Republic President. Afterwards there was a reception in Dr. Aparecido’s house, conducted by the wand of his remarkable wife, Dona Leonor. These are moments of fond memories, when I was kindly invited to sign with the others a donation protocol of a monumental painting of Nossa Senhora Aparecida (by the architect and artist João de Souza Araujo) to her famous Basilica, at that time under the command of the dear D.Geraldo Maria de Moraes Penido, now His Eminent Archbishop. Nowadays, the great cathedral is directed by the illustrious D. Aloysio Lorscheider.

On another occasion, Kelly and Mario Bosso, who lived there for eight years, suggested that Luci Andréa and I were taken to a beautiful place called Amares, where we spent some time breathing fresh air and talking to the local community and other people who were also visiting the place.

On the way back to Braga, while we enjoyed the landscape of Serra do Gerês, I could observe the succession of stone walls, common in that region.

Some were pompous others unpretentious. Until it appeared that gracious one, right in the turn, but so small it almost could not be seen. It was there nevertheless, strong, accomplishing its function of not allowing that in a small unfilled space, someone, inattentive, a child or an older person, might fall in a deep abyss. I wanted then to pay homage, as a humble person, unknown in his modesty, who however, for Love will fulfill his mission.

To an Ancient Wall

On the road from Gerês/to Braga/there are many old walls.../But there is one/ancient,/specially ancient,/right in the turn,/which caresses the soul.../Ancient as Love/and as the pains.../So small.../but it makes us smile/to the favors/of opening,/to the sad soul,/the great pleasure,/of discovering,/amidst the field,/the divine beauty of the flowers./While others/ - large!..-/have no expression/with which,/ in its smallness,/speak to the heart./Yes;/because if this/is not the greatest of organs/of the body,/that feels all/sees all,/because it sees all/and feels all.../Here it is its target./Oh! small Wall,/so loaded with Life!/Life!/Life!/as the ivy/that covers your sides,/made of stone, softened /and humanized by the years,/many years.../Ah! Ancient wall!/of ancient stone.../How many histories have you watched!.../And of all you heard,/tell me a little./I will listen to them,/not with a deaf ear,/of so many travelers,/that pass here,/and don’t see you.../Because crazy loops/disturb their minds.../And what an opportunity/they miss,/because they don’t feel in you/the chant of the steeling centuries./Yes,/because the wheel/ turns.../And what is gone,/returns ahead.../And maybe,/ancient Wall,/ancient Wall,/those who are blind/not to see you/and deaf/not to hear you,/have learned,/finally,/that,/to listen/to the lament or the chant/of the stone itself,/it is necessary,/dead the rule,/to love all loves/of Divine Love...

What is the message of the tiny Wall of Gerês?

The message is this: in what is smaller than a king one who doesn’t run from his responsibility? He deserves our support and distinction for persisting, with his honor, to live his dignity. The elite of a country is its People.

MANCHETE 2.500 – It is not easy in Brazil, for a magazine of the size of MANCHETE to arrive at this issue. The idealism of departed Adolph Bloch (1908-1995) explains the success of this publication. My compliments to the old fellows of this House and my wishes of increasing success in the coming years.

José de Paiva Netto is a writer, journalist, radio broadcaster, composer, and poet. He is the President of the Legion of Good Will (LGW), effective member of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) and of the Brazilian International Press Association (ABI-Inter). Affiliated to the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Writers of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Radio Broadcasters of Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC). He is also a member of the Academy of Letters of Central Brazil. He is an author of international reference in the concept and defense of the cause of Ecumenical Citizenship and Spirituality which, according to him, constitute “the cradle of the most generous values that are born of the Soul, the dwelling of the emotions and of the reasoning enlightened by intuition, the atmosphere that embraces everything that transcends the ordinary field of matter and comes from the elevated human sensitivity, such as Truth, Justice, Mercy, Ethics, Honesty, Generosity, and Fraternal Love.”