A Word that can launch a thousand pictures.

My quest for the meaning of the word ‘Saudades’ began on my sixteenth Birthday.
That evening, at the party, I found my mother looking in my direction but not at me, with an expression that reminded me of the Mona Lisa. I walked up to her and jokingly asked: ‘A penny for your thoughts?’

She smiled fondly and said, ‘Do you know what is Saudades?’

‘Nostalgia. Oh! You have been thinking of the time you were sixteen,’ I replied.

‘Nostalgia is the English word but there is no word as profound, as intense, as urgent, as sweet’ she said.

The dictionary defines ‘Saudades’ as a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese temperament.
It could not have been more accurate right down to the use of the word ‘supposedly’ because the author of an English dictionary cannot feel the feeling and hence will never find its true meaning!

I hope my forthcoming book titled SAUDADES! FOLK MEMORIES OF DAMAO mitigates this feeling in those that have been fortunate enough to feel it and is of more use than a dictionary to those who are in search of it. When you find it, you will know because you will feel it deep in your heart and you will want to read the book again out of Saudades.



Copyright © 2006 Noël Gama

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