Traditions

Holding the fish
sleeping sweetly
among the chips
and cabbage
neatly
Chew around
each silent
table
conversing
generations ((Restaurante Manuel Alves in Porto, Bonfim has been family-run for almost four generations. It is an example of the strength of honest Portuguese tradition faced with waves of “fast food” and “international” fashions. Hence rendered into Portuguese:

Tradições
Segurando o peixe
que dorme docemente
entre as batatas fritas
e as couves
com elegância
a mastigar
cada um em silêncio
mesa
à conversa
gerações
disponível
a todas as horas
bebendo bem
com uma subtil sandes
sopa de vegetais
e vinho
sem pretensão
de prato ou de preço
apenas tradição honesta
abençoada em cada fatia.
(translated by F.J. Topa).))
able
at all hours
sipping fine
with a subtle sandwich
green soup
and wine
no pretension
in plate or price
just honest tradition
blessed in each slice.

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is author of Unbecoming American: A War Memoir and also Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..