Monday, September 18, 2006

Plaza de Mayo

This weekend I went to the Plaza de Maya, the political center of the city. The name of the plaza commemorates the May Revolution of 1810, the beginning of the Argentina´s fight for independence from Spain.

On the left is the Metropolitan Cathedral of Buenos Aires, the current city hall. Its the most prominent Catholic church in the City of Buenos Aires--and thats quite a feat!

The pink building below is the Casa Rosada (officially known as the Casa de Gobierno) which houses the executive branch of the Argentine government. President Kirchner works out of the Casa Rosada during the day, but returns each night to the presidential compound in Olivos, Buenos Aires.

The building was originally painted pink by Domingo Faust Sarmiento. Some say Sarmiento chose the color pink as a symbol of peace and compromise, as red and white represent Argentinas two major political parties. Others say the building color is from the animal blood, commonly added to white paint to minimize damage from humidity. I thought of Sarmiento´s ¨Civilización y Barbarie¨...maybe both theories are correct.

The statue commemorating Argentine independence stands in the center of the plaza and birds flock to its base like moths to a light, (or like me to a chocolate peanutbutter pie). Birds at home in the U.S. do this too, I´ve noticed, so clearly it´s not a cultural thing. Why then, do birds flock to statues? Sitting at the foot of the statue with a napkin and a pen, I came up with some theories:

Why Birds Flock to Statues

The best perches in town
Are statues, tails down.

For what could be better
Than to deface and disgrace
What society sought to immortalize?

But the insult is transient.
Alls cleansed with the rain.
And so they return again and again
To add persistence, insistence to injury.

Why Birds Flock to Statues
(A Second Interpretation)

Birds will do anything for a bit of irony,
And since they can´t bring the legend to life,
They bring life to the legend.

(And that is clearly what´s going on in the photo above, with one bird flying up and away from the statue of independence--his irony was not lost on me!)


At 10:42 PM, Blogger DoctorGirl SF said...

Tails down! That poem is mighty good, meep. How did I get such a fantastically witty and insightful little sis? You amaze me, Sha. It reminds me of the pillar in Trefalger Square (Jenny can correct my spelling...)

At 1:49 PM, Blogger Lucia Graves said...

Meep, you like my poem! Now, tell me about this pillar.

At 9:07 AM, Blogger aevia1 said...

It's in Trafalgar Square in the center of whirling traffic. We all visited it in London 4 years ago: remember, you girls climbed up on the base of the statue and tucked into the huge bronze lions there, and we took photos? It honors Lord Nelson, "The Hero of Trafalgar". (He's up on top of a very tall round column in a three corner Admiral's hat.) He was killed at the end of the Battle of Trafalgar, one of the greatest of naval battles, off the coast of Spain, where the Brits crushed Napoleon's navy decisively, and established the British Navy as the ruler of the ocean for the entire 19th century, which subsequently had a lot to do with success of the British Empire. That was in 1805, 201 years ago! Trafalgar Square is sort of the center of London. It is, or was a famous pigeon feeding place, but recently feeding pigeons has been banned and (!) hawks have been introduced to drive them off.
I agree with Didi that your poems are great: short, sweet and witty!


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