Festival #41: Para ver as árvores

Festival 41 is up at Blog do Árvores Vivas/Living Trees Blog. A fully bilingual edition (except of course for the entries themselves), it includes essays, poems, artwork and more from Brazil, India, and the United States.

The theme this time was “If I Were a Tree,” and Juliana explains that the point of this exercise was to try and enlarge our vision, and thereby our capacity to empathize and care for the earth. The title of this post means “to see the trees,” and it comes from a piece by the great Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, who Juliana mentions in Festival 41:

Não basta abrir a janela
Para ver os campos e o rio.
Não é bastante não ser cego
Para ver as árvores e as flores.
É preciso também não ter filosofia nenhuma.
Com filosofia não há árvores: há ideias apenas.
Há só cada um de nós, como uma cave.
Há só uma janela fechada, e todo o mundo lá fora;
E um sonho do que se poderia ver se a janela se abrisse,
Que nunca é o que se vê quando se abre a janela.

To see the fields and the river
It isn’t enough to open the window.
To see the trees and the flowers
It isn’t enough not to be blind.
It is also necessary to have no philosophy.
With philosophy there are no trees, just ideas.
There is only each one of us, like a cave.
There is only a shut window, and the whole world outside,
And a dream of what could be seen if the window were opened,
Which is never what is seen when the window is opened.

(Translation by Richard Zenith, Fernando Pessoa & Co.)

We hope this edition of the Festival of the Trees will encourage you to try and see beyond your own fantasies and preconceptions. You don’t have to hug a tree — but it helps.

About Dave Bonta

I'm the author of several books of poetry, including Ice Mountain: An Elegy, Breakdown: Banjo Poems, and Odes to Tools, but my real work is at my long-running literary blog Via Negativa, where I'm currently creating erasure poems from every entry of the Diary of Samuel Pepys. I'm also the editor and publisher of Moving Poems, a blog showcasing the best poetry videos on the web.

Posted on November 1, 2009, in Announcements. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi Dave,

    Thanks a lot for the introduction! Beautiful… I am very happy with this festival, hope everyone can enjoy it!!!

    Best for you all, from a brazilian tree hugger


  1. Pingback: 41st Festival of the Trees « Memoir on-the-fly

  2. Pingback: 41st Festival of the Trees | LONGLEAF STORIES

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