Here is a poem of place by Joan Maragall, and it certainly makes the reader want to visit it. La Fageda d’En Jorda is a site of outstanding natural beauty, a beech forest growing out of an old volcanic lava flow, in an area of long-standing volcanic activity in the Catalan province of Girona, 100 or so miles north-east of Barcelona. Since the poem was written well over 100 years ago, it must have had even more of an unspoilt charm when visited by Maragall.
LA FAGEDA D’EN JORDÀ
Saps on és la fageda d’en Jordà ?
Si vas pels volts d’Olot, amunt del pla,
trobaràs un indret verd i pregon
com mai més n’hagis trobat al món:
un verd com d’aigua endins, pregon i clar;
el verd de la fageda d’en Jordà.
El caminant, quan entra en aquest lloc,
comença a caminar-hi poc a poc;
compta els seus passos en la gran quietud
s’atura, i no sent res, i està perdut.
Li agafa un dolç oblit de tot el món
en el silenci d’aquell lloc pregon,
i no pensa en sortir o hi pensa en va:
és pres de la fageda d’en Jordà,
presoner del silenci i la verdor.
Oh companyia! Oh deslliurant presó!
The poem starts with a question, “Do you know where id the Fageda d’en Jorda”, perhaps not altogether a rhetorical question. But it also gives a natural lead-in to the poem’s description of the place, first situating it on the plain above the city of Olot. The poet then describes it as a green and attractive place, like nowhere else in the world. A place of greenery, but also with clear water.
The poet then describes how the place draws in the visitor, inciting to walk about and explore, but so caught up in the beauty and the atmosphere that he will soon get lost. But it doesn’t matter, because the visitor is soothed by the silence and calm of the place, such that he may never consider leaving. In fact the visitor can easily become a prisoner of the silence and greenery of this enchanting place. A sweet prison indeed.
Put this on the list for your next visit to Catalunya (I missed it when I lived there some years ago).
The Poetry Dude