On my way to the beach I found a collection of poems for children, left next to a garbage container. Most of them written by well-known Catalan poets, some originally French or German and some very old ones without a known author. The poems describe the world, the seasons, different flowers, professions, animals, the sun and the moon, the village and the city, places in Barcelona, home, humanity, the mountains, games, holidays, the universe, sometimes zooming out, then zooming in again. The idea behind it was to teach children through poetry, “creació humana per excellència”.

Aixecau-vos de matí
i veureu el sol sortir
vermell com una magrana

Get up in the morning
and you will see he sun rise
red as a pommegranate

- Llorenc Riber

I watched it happen. And walked back through Barceloneta, no longer - as my new old book described - smelling of fish, of folded sails, of mildewed boards, but still a mix of colours, green, blue, yellow, red and clothes hanging from washing lines in the narrow streets.

Fortor de peix, de veles plegades, de taulons
amb verdet i la mescla de les colors més fortes
-el verd, el blau, el groc, el vermell- en les portes
i en les robes que pengen posades a assecar.
En colors i en olors la llum tota es desfà.

- Alexandre Plana

You can read the temperature here in a different way. The ladies who lived here when Barceloneta was the home of fishermen were inside. It was a cold morning. I seated myself at the corner table, where I always sit. The waiter brought me a cafe con leche without asking. My internet wasn’t functioning. I asked him for the password. “Poeta bosca 2” he answered. It worked. But I was puzzled. Did that mean wood poet? I looked at the trees on the other side of the square, wondered if the owner of the cafe had a poetic nature himself but since I was online I googled it. “Plaça del Poeta Boscà” popped up. It was the first time I read the name of the square I’ve been spending regular time on and usually refer to as Barceloneta market square, even though there is rarely a market. It didn’t solve the mystery so I googled Boscà and found Joan Boscà, a Catalan poet. His exact date of birth is unclear but he died exactly 430 years before I was born, 21 September 1542. Boscà is most famous for the incorporation of hendecasyllable verses (a hendecasyllable is a line of eleven syllables, used in Greek and Latin poetry), sometimes referred to as “Italian style”, into Spanish. His main subject was love.

Still I didn’t know if he was the Boscà in the password and in the name of the square. I explored the internet once more. He was born in Barcelona but was he born here, in Barceloneta? I don’t remember ever having seen a plaque with his name anywhere. I found a page with the location of literary monuments in the city. Number 6 was situated at the square I was looking out on, dedicated to Joan Boscà. I recognised the image straight away and turned around. I felt foolish. It was too far away to read from my table but there was a text chiseled on the side of the monument, surely his name and details.

I took a closer look. The top layer with his poetry had disappeared almost completely. A combination of erosion and having been used as a giant bench.

It made me wonder how many things there are on my daily walk I have overlooked so far.

On my way home I passed the busstop with the poster of the movie Aqua Man. I smiled. At the Boscà - I am tempted to keep calling it Wood Poet - Square I had just read the last chapter of Grayson Perry’s “The Descent of Man”, a brilliant, funny and wise book about the need to question masculinity and the role of education and conditioning in gender roles. The train station a bit further down was filled with people. I walked inside and checked out the stalls. There were tiny trains everywhere, train tracks, tiny houses and streets. It was a model train fair, completely packed with mainly elderly men.

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