From Porto to Porto – shadows & poetry

For seven months two friends separated by the immense Atlantic shortened the physical distance with shadows and poetry. Now they publish the result of these visual essays in a micro-essay written by four hands, between prose and poetry, where art is the place of all freedoms.

From Porto to Porto – shadows & poetry is a  micro-essay that gathers moments that were manifested from March to September 2022. Photography and poetry are the languages of this manifestation, which is nothing more than dialogue, sharing and connection between Brazil and Portugal, protaganized by two friends: Madeleine Müller, Porto Alegre and Francisco Mesquita, Porto.

After this time and gathering all the monthly fragments, now comes this essay that mirrors those moments, but also leaves a text of both. A free text, without margins, that expresses the fluid dimension of all journeys, the shadow journeys as well.


When we started thinking about the project Do Porto ao Porto, projecting shadows and thoughts in common places or contexts, Francisco and I wanted to be closer and to ease the distance between Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, and Porto, in northern Portugal. We wanted to keep our moments and shares, the exchange of ideas, the exercise of creating together, even if we were apart. In this desire to preserve our friendship, with distant lives and routines, living about 9 thousand kilometers from each other and with an ocean between us, it was impossible for me not to remember a remarkable book from my adolescence, Fernão Capelo Gaivota, by Richard Bach.

Through its metaphors, I was able to reflect and realize that we are, in truth, where our heart is, no matter the time or the distance, because the feelings of love, friendship, compassion, longing, do not disappear in physical absence, they just rest somewhere inside us. Whenever we tell a story about true friendship, we understand that it is a constant construction, in an eternal becoming, and the learning in this journey is capable of taking us wherever we want to go, in the company of whoever we want to be.

In Fernão Capelo Gaivota, I found a balm to placate the typical school sadness that always appeared when a classmate, elevated to the rank of friend, changed school or left town. The whole theme revolved around self-overcoming, suggesting a spiritual flight, nothing more than a philosophical metaphor sympathetic to the idea that not even distance can really separate us from true friends. Fernão taught that when we want to be with someone, when we think about him, we are already with him, in this transport of affections through an imaginary flight, which also served as a bridge between Francisco and me, in our respective continents, lives and families.

By uniting our shadows and taste for poems, we started to be together, even apart, using our cell phones to photograph situations of our daily lives, each one in his or her own space and personal journey, also projecting our restlessness about human existence, being and not being, questioning the feeling of impermanence and finitude that hangs in the air, in these complex times, but also joyfully sharing our taste for photography, poetry, nature, travel, colors, flavors, movements, and even the small everyday things, so simple but meaningful, like a seagull scratching the sky on a summer afternoon.

A project to rethink the traces we leave behind and the time that escapes us, in a time when everything changes, all the time. Even if the moment passes and the shadow fades at the end of the day, the desire to fly will always remain within us…


of us.

the shadow of the street that happens

the shadow of the garden that radiates

the shadow of the absolute sea

the shadow of the hat that is a duck

the shadow of the photograph that amazes

the shadow of the university that is not chaos

the shadow of nature that is a mystery.

Of the instant.

in the shadow that passes in a hurry

in the shadow that aggravates and reduces us

in the shadow that crosses and crosses us

in the shadow that fled and returned

in the shadow that unites and separates

in the shadow that was and is no longer

in the shadow that will be another shadow.

Of desire.

in the shadow of the journey

in the shadow of the myth

in the shadow of the instant

in the absent shadow

in the shadow that escapes

in the shadow that stops

in the shadow that runs

in the shadow of vertigo

in the shadow that laughs

in the shadow of the other

in the shadow of us.

A shadow, shadow of everything, of an everything that is nothing [too] and for all that being, is the shadow of the universe too.


This short essay is nothing more than an expression of fleeting moments that the shadow mirrors and the poetic language emphasizes. They are parallel moments lived separately, in two cities of two distant countries, Brazil and Portugal, that for being so distant motivated this desire to unite them. The photographs – shadow and poems chosen in Do Porto ao Porto, by Brazilian and Portuguese poets, are in reality a mirror of moments lived there and here, expressing images of daily life with its protagonists.

They are metaphors of friendship, of distant proximity, of days that pass, of love for art, in photography and poetry. Art, the only space in which we are truly free.

the shadow

the poem,


Texts and visual essays: Francisco Mesquita & Madeleine Müller

Published on 07-10-2022

Andresen, S. d. M. B. (n.d.). O jardimEscritas.org
Bach, R. (2015). Fernão Capelo Gaivota. Editora record.
Gedeão, A. (n.d.). Amador sem coisa amadaEscritas.org
Quintana, M. (n.d.). Canção do dia de sempre. Pensador.
Saramago, J. (n.d.). A vida é uma aprendizagem diária. Pensador.



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