They called it a hill,

but looking out at the parapets

of the main house

of the Quinta da Regaleira

I saw all of Sintra and Cascais

and the Atlantic ocean

and swore I was on a mountain


Their hills are my mountains


I walked for hours up and down that hill

on cobblestoned streets

and aged houses and buildings

unmarked by the passages of time

all dressed in pink and orange and a light blue

like little Victorian girls out to play in the garden,

or at least, how they looked like

in picture books of that time


They call it a hill

but it’s a time capsule:

six castles, wonderfully preserved

the trees brought over

turning the hill from barren

to lush and verdant,

all the trees and plants taken

from Portuguese colonies

and there they remain,

surrounding old castles

dressed in a Manueline style

with Moorish accents

and a pull to the past so strong

that for every explosion of light

from the tourist’s camera’s flash

the stones come alive and breathe


Along the winding gardens and grottos

of the Quinta da Regaleira

to the serpentine labyrinth of the gardens

of Pena Palace,

I’m assaulted by time and space

and baffled by their calling this a hill


No hill stands so tall and for so long

No hill can be so immense and relevant

Time rends hills to flatlands

Here, time is held captive to this mountain

Hills capture no one

but mountains entomb giants and titans

and gods and time and man


And I am

its latest captive

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