Thursday, April 26, 2018

Poetry of Portugal

This week I announced that I will be hosting a retreat in Portugal in September of this year (2018). In anticipation of that I have been getting to know Portugal by it's poets. One in particular I have already fallen in love with: Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. She recently passed in 2004 but her poetry is all super concrete, accessible, and well, just gorgeous. She achieves a lot with a little. (Most of her poems are short.) I'll share one here:


Green-muscled ocean
Idol of many arms like an octopus
Convulsive incorruptible chaos
Ordered tumult
Contorted dancer
Surrounding the taut ships

We traversed row on row of horses
Shaking their manes in the trade winds

The sea turned suddenly very young and very old
Revealing beaches
And a people
Of just-created men still the colour of clay
Still naked still in awe
Translation: 2004, Richard Zenith 

I thought I wanted to do a retreat in Croatia, but Portugal kept calling me back to it, especially the beauty and wildness of the southern region called the Algarve. There is something about the beaches and the mountains and the stars that calls surfers and poets and yogis alike. And suppose I am all three. So it will be a retreat with all of those things in it. I expect that it will be different than any other retreat I have done. I can't say exactly how, but I can tell you it will be cozy, fun, poetic, creative and healing.

The theme is rebirthing, but people don't really come for a theme-- they come because their hearts call them. I think maybe this time I will call in more couples, and maybe more Europeans or East Coast yogis. I find, and you can verify if this is true for you, that as soon as I announce a retreat or as soon as people commit to coming, we all start to feeling it working on us already. So by the time we get there, the healing, the land, the space is already gently in process. I already feel a great sense of wellness and possibility.

One of the best things I have ever heard said about poetry was by Neil Gaiman. In a short story he wrote, he essentially said that you can't hear a poem without it changing you-- that in essence, it colonizes you. I like that. And so here is one more poem by Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen that will hopefully colonize you. And maybe you will want to come to Portugal and experience whatever it is we will experience together.

The Navigators

Multiplicity makes us drunk
Astonishment leads us on
With daring and desire and calculated skill
We've broken the limits -
But the one God
Keeps us from straying
Which is why at each port we cover with gold
The sombre insides of our churches

Translation: 2004, Richard Zenith 

Here are a few pictures and a link to learn more and register if it's calling to you. It will be a small retreat, so please register soon. Early bird pricing ends April 30, 2018.

Learn more and Register Here Now