MISSING THE MEDITERRANEAN

MISSING THE MEDITERRANEAN

This is perhaps the song that resonates within me, moves me the most. I could listen to it more than a hundred times, and it always, always impresses me, stops me, reminds me of something, it wakes up in me the longing for the Mediterranean I knew as a child and that now, unfortunately, is not that one that was when young anymore, suddenly broken in just fifty years. A survivor of human activity throughout history, it has taken only half a century to be wounded enough.  And though it still preserves a few places, is abused by stupidity, bad taste, ambition and human greed, so it is not the same one. Paradise was here. They carried it away badly.

And when last Sunday I sat down with my papers, letting myselg go as I always do before posting on this blog, the song of the poet played again and by chance, and put together the Mediterranean and the longing. Nostalgia arises when you feel you have lost part of or something which was deeply and sincerely loved. It is a paradoxical homesickness, since I have the great privilege of living near the sea, but I miss the Mediterranean Serrat sang about and that is gone forever. Perhaps because my childhood continues playing on your beach…

 

… And hidden behind the canes


My first love sleeps,


I wear your light and your smell


Wherever I go,


And piled on your sand


I keep love, plays and sorrows.

 

I, that in my skin have


The bitter flavour of the eternal crying,


Which a hundred peoples have shed into you


From Algeciras to Istanbul,


So that you can paint in blue


Their long nights of Winter.


Because of misadventures,


Your soul is deep and dark.

 

My eyes got used to


Your red dusks


Like the bend to the truck…


I am a singer, I am a liar,


I like gambling and wine,


I have the soul of a sailor…


What can I do?


I was born in the Mediterranean.

 

And you approach, and you leave


After kissing my small village.


Playing with the tide


You go away, thinking of returning.


You are like a woman


Scented with tar


Who is missed and loved,


Who is known and feared.

 

Oh! If the death comes


In search of me an unhappy day,

Push my boat to the sea


With an autumnal east wind


And allow the storm


To strip its white wings.


And bury me without mourning


Between the beach and the sky…

 

In the hillside of a mountain,


Higher than the horizon.


I want to have a good view.


My body will be way,


I will give green to the pines


And yellow to the broom…


 

Near the sea. Because I was born


in the Mediterranean.*

 

And I thought, listening and quietly singing the song, that longing makes us recognize the value of what is loved, and that it also hides that other longing for a utopia: to retrieve the beloved in the way we once knew and felt it. The feeling is not unimportant, it is deep, goes deep inside, and it can be, and indeed it is, a present spur. Because maybe now more than ever we must go back to basics. Because progress does not imply greed, vulgarity or destruction, but care, generosity, gentleness and preservation. Just to recover the lost treasures of infinite value that the man’s hand has corrupted. We’ll talk about it in other posts, here.

I leave you now with Joan Manuel Serrat, to keep feeling and thinking with the smell of tar, the broom, geranium, pine and bougainvillea, and the murmur of the water, the touch the sand on the skin and the breeze of memory in the soul. For all these, fortunately, no one can get their hands on.

Kisses and hugs,

 

Álex

 

*[Free and unofficial translation]

Alex Rovira