"I am 3/4ths Canadian, and one 4th New Englander - I had ancestors on both sides in the Revolutionary war." - Elizabeth Bishop

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Memory of Congonhas

John’s Sunday “Today in Bishop,” which invoked Congonhas, triggered a vivid memory of my brief visit there in September 1999, that trip of a lifetime to attend a Bishop conference in Ouro Prêto -- a group of us went by bus to Rio afterwards and we stopped at several places on the way, including Congonhas. I went searching through my “Brazil trip” photo album and found pictures I took of the Twelve Prophets by Aleijadinho – pictures taken with one of those disposable cameras (I was no photographer!). I have scanned two and wanted to post them here.

It just so happens that today the heart of Bishop’s world -- New England, Maine and the Maritimes -- is in the grip of a serious blizzard. As I look out my window the snow is thick and “falling” horizontally on fierce wind. So, it is nice to contemplate that time sixteen years ago: the glorious blue sky, the quite powerful statues gazing off, seeing who knows what, the good friends who wandered around with me amazed that we were there. In the mid-1960s, after being in Brazil for over a decade, Bishop had a bout of “nostalgia for the North” – I think she’d have been glad to be in Rio on a day such as today, when you can’t see the nose in front of your face, as the saying here goes. Sometime soon, I will post something about my favourite Aleijadinho sculputure, which I saw in Mariana. Stay safe!

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