“Todos os Fogos o Fogo”
Pedro Moura (text), Bárbara R. (illustrations)
in Revista Cais #240, June 2018
Initial notes: this story was created to be published precisely one year after the horrible fires in Pedrógão Grande and elsewhere in Portugal, in 2017, which was the deadliest of the country. The title is based on Julio Cortázar's famous short story and eponymous collection. “Love is a fire that burns unseen” is an extremely known verse from Camões; and at the end there's a pun in Portuguese between “plow” as both “press on” and “till the earth”.
«All the fires the fire»
Let me tell you: yesterday, time flared up. It flared forever. For some, it will flare never again.
It is told: “love is a fire that burns unseen...” But that which is seen not only burns, as it devours completely.
Not love. That will remain. But the fruit that set it on fire is now gone and such love is filled only with mourning.
Where is the first flint, they ask.
However, the loaded flame was held by each and every one of us.
To share the flame of victory is not enough. The incinerating one shall be shared as well.
The voice of the fire is euphoric, riding over the earth, its mane flowing, covering up the sky. But the surfaces it touches upon, and licks, and stamps on, becomes silent.
In the sudden conflagration a horrendous symphony of austere, roughshod crackles sounds off. There is no counterpoint or sharp note. There is no pause.
Thick orange tresses with whitest hearts draw up flickering dark silhouettes.
I tell you: a flame illuminates a Winter's cold room as much as it vibrates within the hearts of stars.
But these scorch all. Time and space become spilled liquids.
It is told: flames plow on.
We wish so.