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.