florbela espanca


I have been in Lisbon before, but early June I travelled there with the Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest to kick of the 2018 edition of the show. These sort of meetings are landing around 8 AM and taking of around 7 PM. Enough time to have a meeting at the broadcaster’s headquarters and to have a glimpse of the city.

Although as EBU Media Director I am “Switzerland” and thus neutral, I was happy that Salvador Sobral won in Kyiv. He, his sister and the song had a unique authenticity. Upon landing in Lisbon I immediately found that same authentic authenticity. Plenty of small book and music shops promoting local culture. This is exactly what the core DNA of the Eurovision Song Contest is all about.

I bought myself a compilation of “Lisbon Poets” and have savored them over the last few weeks. Fernando Pessoa is great and comes in many dimensions – or personalities – but I was stunned by what Florbela Espanca produced in her short lifespan (1894-1930). She committed suicide at a young age and was not the only Portugese poet to do so.

To give you just a first impression :



To love !

I want to love – love madly !

Love just to love – here … there … and beyond …

Him over there, and him right there, and everybody …

Love ! Love ! And not love anyone !

Remember ? Forget ? Doesn’t matter ! …

Become attached, or grow distant ? Is it wrong ? Is it right ?

Anybody who says you can love someone

for your entire life is flat lying !

In every life there is a springtime :

it must be sung of once it blooms,

for if God gave us voices, why then we must sing !

And if one day I’ll be dust, ash, and nothingness,

them may my nighttime be a dawn,

may I learn to be lost … so that I can find myself …

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