Not it the soil sustaining his tower of living vigour,
about the stubborn boulders his massy roots entwine:
he greets the dews and showers, chill wind and torrid rigour;
and, like the ancient prophet, the smiles of heaven transfigure
his form with life divine.
(From : Miquel Costa i Llobera, El Pi de Formentor, translation: James Webb)
The Experience of nature and a sense of God come together in the poetry of Mossèn Miquel Costa i Llobera (1854-1922). Cleric (Mossèn means ‘Father’), poet and descendant of a family of landowners. His most famous poem, the youth work El Pi de Formentor (The Pine off Formentor, 1875), is therefore dedicated to a pine tree that stood on what was in fact a piece of land he owned: the Cap de Formentor, the extreme north-eastern point of Costa i Llobera’s home island of Majorca, a place where at times the elements go berserk.
Texas in Barcelona
In the gardens named after the poet on the southern flanks of Montjuïc it is usually a lot quieter than on its cape. Thanks to its location, the plants in those gardens six hectares big are well protected from wind and weather. The temperature in the middle of the terrain is also an average of two degrees Celsius higher than in the rest of the area. Perfect for the approximately 800 plant species here, mainly from deserts, sub-deserts and tropical areas.
The most striking part is the cactus garden. When the sun shines, you imagine yourself in a real western. Any moment, so it seems, a thirsty and bad tempered desperado can appear on the scene, up to no good. Texas in Barcelona.
At the very top, on the border with the Miramar park and exposed to the elements, we find the only pine tree. Cast in bronze and with a bird included. Artist Joaquim Ros i Bofarull was inspired for his sculpture L’Au dels temporals (The Stormbird) by the last stanza of El Pi Formentor, which you can read on the pedestal of the statue. In the free translation by James Webb:
Mount, mount, aspiring spirit! the shrouding mists transcending
stand fast aloft, as standeth that Pine upon the steep;
calm shalt thou view beneath thee the world’s wild seas contending
and like the circling sea-birds, thy songs in joy unending
above the storm shall sweep.
Incidentally, it was not a free assignment for Ros i Bofarull: the text was personally chosen by mayor Porcioles. Earlier, the mayor had determined that the three new gardens on Montjuïc each received the name of a Catalan poet Costa i Llobera, Joan Maragall and Jacint Verdaguer).
The poetry quotes that you encounter in those tree gardens also had to be in Catalan. With that, Porcioles, usually skilled in maneuvering between Francoism and Catalanism, went a step too far. When Franco officially opened the parks on 22 June 1970 with the unveiling of the Ros I Baforulls statue, he was ‘unpleasantly surprised’ .
Montjuïc E-Bike Tour
In 1987 the New York Times chose the Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera as one of the ten most beautiful gardens in the world. The gardens are one of the surprises you will you experience during our Montjuïc E-bike tour!