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  • Pilar Del Rio posted a note last week to inform the public that Camões had died. Camões, I mean to be the dog she sheltered with her beloved José Saramago in their house in Lanzarote. The abandoned dog appeared there in the same day when José Saramago won Camões Literary Award, so then it was baptized and had other apparitions in Saramago’s “The Cave”.

    I don’t know what Camões – the founder of Portuguese Modern Poetry – would think of Saramago’s dog having his name. When I was a child, an evangelical minister called Ismael visited us at home and I went to the gate with Laika, our Alsatian shepherd. In Portuguese, the most common word for shepherd and religious minister is “pastor”. The coincidence caused the minister the inconvenience of hearing from me something like “That’s interesting, you are Ismael shepherd, and she is Alsatian shepherd”. Uh…

    Now, as I’ve just applied to a Coursera (in Sci-Fi literature), I’ve been facing my own deficiencies in English grammar. It’s not so easy to bypass different conceptions of world proportioned by linguistic differences when you are in an academic environment, particularly in a so specific one about English writing and reading. The case to ask help for translation is that I don’t understand in which point my thought becomes confusing of obscure. Coursera has different students from all over the world – Chinese, Croatians, Serbians, Russians, Brazilians, Arabians… and Americans, all reading essays in English, or what we suppose to be English. The pitiful note is that some native English-speaker students seem to be decidedly against the worldly environment and able only to criticize non-native English speakers much more than being concerned about sharing literary contents. Okay, it’s not the place to show how to ask for hot-dogs, but everybody should consider that what brings the environment different opportunities to create is precisely the difference in philosophies of language. Many students all over the world felt themselves as chased-out dogs by the native English-speakers.

    This very moment also made me learn of the different grammar some of my neighbors use to rule abandoned dogs’ lives in our street. I’ve brought my seven cats to this house in a huge pet-carrier built a Rottweiler dog. After doing the moving transportation, the cage remains useless in our entry. During the night, when the cats are indoor, Leo and I feel pity about the dogs outside, without food or warm rest, so we decided to put a little chow, water and clothes to let them in during the night, and release them for their daily plays in the morning. But what was our unpleasant surprise when one of our neighbors came to me and another dog-nurse neighbor, complaining to us for his right to rest, because he has the right of not having dogs barking when he wishes to sleep, nor dirtying the front of his house. Whaff-whaff-whaff – he should bark it to the chased-out dogs! We told him the abandoned dogs were not the barkers disturbing his sleep, but others behind gates, wishing to get out. What could we do about if we were just feeding the abandoned ones? In a warm Saturday afternoon for play and joy, a man who spends his entire week out of the city is not making sense in dropping feast bomb to panic the animals and later come moaning about unsuccessful siesta! We at home learned it the hard way, being a night-birds who have to bear the morning noises of children going to school, cars and horns along our sleeping time. But I guess that he wished to extend his rights of property to what’s not his business, creating a bad situation that he’d left behind for his wife to deal with during the week he spends out. Whaff!!

    Now almost everyday Cocadinha, Chocolate and Capuccino come to have food and a warm rest & play. I’m enchanted to notice that the cats are less worried about the dogs than I’d supposed. I don’t want them inside the house because it’s already a mess with only “nine people” inside – imagine you with three more of our fans! The cats tell them “hisssss” so they don’t come in!

    Street dogs are more polite than many people! They obey the rules, and respect the cats which are smaller but older than them!
    Wandering Poets, they really are!

    ("Cocadinha", photo by Leonardo Martins)
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