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The Trail - An Odyssey, Written From: 1998 - 2004

Period Covered: 1945 - 2013

A Brazilian Odyssey:

The Trail

By: ALP Gouthier

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Note from Author, 2013

Shahnameh, Epic of Persian Kingd

Note from the author:

Ten years after I created what I used to call “my odyssey”, I read in The Economist magazine, homage to a celebrated Persian poet, writer of extensive epic poems, who lived in the year of 1010.                 

 Epic of the Persian Kings, Shahnameh

 Final lines:

“I shall not die; these seeds I’ve sown will save

 My name and reputation, from the grave

 And men of sense and wisdom will proclaim,

 When I have gone, my praises and my fame.”

 By  Ferdowsi, Persia,1010.


I now, here, offer my humble version: “Life’s Trail”.

ALP Gouthier                      

About the Trail

Gonsalves Dias, The Brazilian Poet

About The Trail

Rev. May 2013

So many of us Brazilians, were introduced in our primary school to the poems of Gonçalves Dias.  They are so beautiful that they repeat themselves in our minds, almost as if they had a life of their own.  In the case of “The Song from Exile”, the words in themselves imply a longing for something lost, and in Portuguese its sounds melodious as the song of a bird itself:                               

In my old land there are palm trees

Where sweetly sing the Sabiás

And the birds that here intone do

Never chant well as ones around.

 Much of the charm was lost in my poor translation, as well as the rhythm, which is Gonçalves Dias’ most remarkable characteristic. His tempo beats like a drum in our minds so strongly that I would often find myself looking for words of my own, my own story, sung in the rhythm of: “I-Juca-Pirama”.

It was therefore in this frame of mind that I created my own “Trail – An Odyssey”.

         After more than twenty years of living mostly in England, in 1989, I had to go back to live in Brazil and for the next ten years there I stayed, except for three months per year, each year, when I came back to London. At the end of this period, back in 1999, both of my children had just come back to the UK to continue their studies and I was already running my own business alone. This was an exciting project however froth with dangers and responsibilities.

        It was about then that I felt the desire to write the story of my life to give to my children, with the recommendation that, one day it would be given to my grandchildren and so on. First, thought of writing in prose, but found my-self at a loss about where to start. As this impasse continued, I one day came upon the idea that one could compose a much shorter and faster version of it by writing in poetry. And that is how Life’s Trail came about.

On a particular day like any other day, I had an inspiration on how I wanted my life story to end. And the Trail’s last two stanzas were the first two that I wrote. It was then quite easy to start. I decided to start at the beginning, using the obvious phrase, I was born. Next, came the dedication, and afterwards it was only a question of filling in with an avalanche of words, sang in rhythm, to the beat of mental drums.

I first wrote about my family and about the world about me and my early thoughts and first travels. Then I wrote about the three men that had been important to me in my life.  The first one Joseph Alexander was an Englishman that I met at university in Boston, to whom I refer in the poems as: The Angel.  Jo was a student there like me and he was responsible for making me fall irremeably in love with England. In the following stanza I refer to the hippie movement of the sixties which was going on at the times, I describe my arrival in England, and I follow with a description of England.

 Afterwards follows a period of further travel in South-East Asia, and a period of uncertainty about the direction of my life that I spent in London.  I relate about the meeting of my first husband, and the birth of my two children, to whom I refer appropriately, as my dreams (come through).

Finally I talk about the reencounter with my second husband Roberto, with whom I am very happy to this day, who was also my first boyfriend of adolescence times back in Brazil:

 ©ALP Gouthier


The Trail, Subdivisions

The Trail, An Odyssey

1997 to 2013


 Part 1- Childhood

Beginning of 1945 to the end of 1956   

Stanzas 1 to 7 (7)

Part 2-Adolescent Dreams

1957 to mid-1963                                             

Stanzas 8 to 13 (6)

 Part 3- Parents

1944 to 1990                                                       

Stanzas14 to 20 (7)

 Part 4- Further Family Portraits

1940 to 2013

21 to 28 (8)

Part 5- Travels & Studies

1959 to 1967                                                       

Stanzas 29 to 34 (6)                            

Part 6- Falling in Love

1965 to 1969                                           

Stanzas 35 to 42 (8)

 Part 7- Discovering England

1967 to 1970

Stanzas 43 to 50 (8)

 Part 8- World Grand Tours

1970 to 1974

Stanzas 51 to 62 (12)

 Part 9- Decisions & Conclusions

1974 to 1988

Stanzas 63 to 77 (15)

Part 10 – Return to Brazil

1989 to 2002

Stanzas 78 to 89 (11)

Part 11- A Private War

1987 to 2013

Stanzas 90 to 100 (11)

Part 12- Back to England

2003 to 2013

Stanzas 101 to 113 (13)

 Part 13- Reencounter with Love

2002 to 2013

Stanzas 114 to 124 (11)

Part 14- The End of a Story


Stanzas 125 to 132 (8)

 ©ALP Gouthier,

 1997 to  2013.


Part 1, Childhood


Poem Part1

The  Trail, An Odyssey

Ver. 2013May1/AGMetre:8/MW/

©ALP Gouthier

1997 to 2013

Part 1- Childhood

From the beginning of 1945 to the end of 1956

Stanzas 1 to 7

1-My odyssey has mind and soul   // Saga1Dedication

And so must change to stay alive,

And when it stops, no more to grow,

It will then mean I’ve come to die.

2- But while I live I’ll tell my tale, //Saga1Dedication

Stories relate and cast my spell.

My children this I give to you,

The life of one who most loved you.

3-On the shade of mango trees,   //Saga Chapter 1940’s

In a valley, far deep inland,

I was born among the mountains  

That surrounded my homeland.

4- I grew up in an enchanted park

That held all I could wish, and lived

Protected by both wealth and love,

Where flowers bloomed throughout the year.

5- Much thought and great attention was

Paid to care and education.

These efforts I later returned,  

With good results and prizes earned.

6- We holidayed in summers to

Hispanic countries in the south,

Where I soon found the ease I had,

To mimic words as well as sounds.

7- So I worked and soon muttered

The sounds of various idioms.

Such efforts came to be for me,

The very means of my freedom.


Part 2: Adolescent Dreams


Poem Part 2

Part 2 – Adolescent Dreams

1957 to mid-1963

Stanzas 8 to 13:

 8- As I grew up I heard and saw   //Saga Epilogue

How untruthful some people were,

And how their words did not transmit

Their own thoughts or the truth of facts.

9- I was a dreamer from the start,//Saga Epilogue

But soon I had to ask myself ,

If there was some place I could find

Where truth prevailed instead of lies?

10- I yearned to leave and start my quest,   //Saga /Epilogue

To find new worlds and distant lands,

Expand my brain, investigate

Exotic, strange philosophies.

11- And yearned to find a people who   

Spoke what they clearly thought was true,

Without falsehoods and all the lies

That I had always so deplored.

12- Nirvana even unattained, // Saga /Epilogue

My search could never be in vain,

For rich experience brings us to

Fulfilment born of wanderlust.

13- Of struggle I am not afraid,   //Saga /Prologue

Ideals strive to realize;

I never know how to desist,

Toward my goals always persist.


Part 3, My Parents

Antonio and Clara

Poem Part 3

Part 3 – My Parents

Stanzas 14 to 20:

 14- My father was a good father,  //Saga/Prologue

So loving kind he was to me.

Behind a desk he ran his world

And fortune building was his creed.

15- He moved his pen along the page,

Deftly forming many words.

I watched him so often at work,

Thoughts tumbling out from his bright mind.

16- I wanted so to be like him, //Saga /Pro

Behind a desk I yearned to sit,

So power I could also have,

To shape my future and to thrive.

17- He told me that most women were

Enslaved by choice and destiny;

But wealth and independence could

Protect, and nurture, keep me free.

18- Mother was an example of

Great kindness and devotion too.

Not once did she deny her love  

To me throughout  my nights and days.

19- She sacrificed herself for what

She thought her role in life should be;

But I wished not her path to thread

And mirrored not her plans for me.

20- But never did I condemn her, 

She was a victim of her time;

This made my purpose stronger still,

Never to sacrifice my rights.


Part 4, Further Family Portraits

The Coronel Totônio

Poem Part 4

Part 4- Further Family Portraits

Stanzas 21 to 28:

 21- A close related dear soul-mate   //Saga /Chapter 1

Gave me love and much support,

She told me her forbears had been

Angles come from northern ports.

22- They came prospecting diamonds //Saga1

On hills and mountains far inland.

They there found beyond a fortune,

Great happiness and new homeland.

23- So I descend from wanderers

And could nowhere too long remain,

I moved around from here to there,

To somewhere else, another place.

24- My grandfather in later years

Lost all his sense of passing time,

His destination once attained,

He thought best to leave again.

25- My father flew a plane alone

And watched the trees and hills pass by.

He always wished to view one more,

To stay aloft eternally.

26-My brother cannot even now

Stay home; his urgent need to leave

Torments him just as stillness does,

That he’s forever on road.

27- But sister was still a small child

Went unremarked in early times,

Though a child she has remained in

Mind, throughout her life, until today.


I speak so much of family,

They were the ones with whom I grew.

In close united circle we

Lived where outsiders were but few.

Part 5, Travels and Studies

Boston University

Poem Part 5

Part 5- Travels and Studies

1959 to 1965

Stanzas 29 to 34:

29- On holidays I often went

To study languages abroad

Those trips were so adventurous

I set my mind on many more.

30- My thirst for knowledge drove me hard,

To contemplate all I could see,

With this desire traverse the Earth,

And navigate the sea and sky.

31- I had to take in everything,

To learn, discover and explore,

I made the whole world my own stage,

And could no longer stay at home.

32 -So first to France I gladly went,

I spoke their tongue and saw their art,

Bathed in their cultural surrounds,

But felt no kinship in their midst.  

33 -I followed next the pilgrims trail,

Who from their old constraints escaped,

In freedom built their new found land,

Gave new foundation to the world.

34- So in their land I lived for years,

Where Nature’s radiant, dazzling hues

With each season explode and change;

A wonder world in rich display. 


Part 6, Falling in Love

"Jo", Joseph A. Martinez

Poem Part 6

Part 6- Falling in Love

1965 to 1969

Stanzas 35 to 42:

35- While there one day I met someone

Who so surprised me all the time,

He was most kind and truthful too

With all his words and attitudes.

36 His love for me was so complete,

He gave his soul and life to me

No one has ever loved me in

The way he once loved me.

37- I saw the pureness of his mind,

Which I had thought no one possessed,

 I never once saw it again.

Or maybe was it just a dream?

38- I have never once forgot him,

He was the angel of my life,

And he will live forever in

My head and also in my heart.

39 -He told me that he came from an

Enchanted land across the seas,

Where falseness, spite and malice

Had lost their power and their strength.

40- Youth celebrated and rebelled

With loud music and with flowers,

They made their motto Love and Peace

And so condemned the warring powers.

41- The winners of this hard conflict

Were women in those heady times,

Bravely achieving new freedoms

Of body, and of their choices.

42-The past was dead, no more enchained,

Imprisoned by those old concepts,

Our liberty was precious felt,

Hard won was our control of life.



Part 7 - Discovering England

London Museum

Poem Part 7

Part 7- Discovering England

1966 to 1970

Stanzas 43 to 50

 43 When I came upon his island

It was a green landmass to see,

Floating high above the waves

Of an ice-cold and distant sea.

44 The angels of his land could fly

No more than us elsewhere could do,

I felt kinship with these people

With their outlook and way of life.

45 In this lush land large oak trees grow,    /Saga Epi

And in the air fresh breezes blow,

Well tended lawns that there abound

Are nowhere greener, lovelier found.

46 Their courteous ways I understood,

Appreciated and admired.

So one who could not be like them

I could no longer feel much love.

47 I was at first so happy there,

And time passed swiftly, days and nights.

I felt the peace for which I’d longed,

But that was not enough for me.


I felt too young to settle down,

Still had great thoughts I wished fulfilled,

Could not forget my role back home,

For which I pined, planned to return.

 49 My angel’s dreams were not the same

As mine, I realized all too soon,  

But did not have the courage to

Explain him this and so break clean.

50 I caused my love so much distress

With my great weakness at that time.

Never again could he forgive,

So guilt became my albatross.

Part 8 - World Grand Tours

Anastasia in Luxor, Egypt, 1978

Poem Part 8

Part 8- World Grand Tours

1970 to 1974

Stanzas 51 to 62

 51 Powerful visions came to mind,

Adventures I imagined clear,

Down this road had I to go,

So chose take myself  away.

52 At times so strong and at times weak

I gambled with my very luck,

And in my peaceful island north

Forgot to choose the road to wealth.

53 Instead I turned to eastern lands

Exotic worlds till then unseen,

That fascinated every sense;

Great beauty of entrancing ways.

54 The first place that I went to find

Enchanted isle in tranquil seas

Whose hills were one thought to be

The very centre of the earth.

55 I was delighted by its charms

The days were bright and I felt free

Was happy there for a brief while,

But not for long, it was not home.

56 So next I flew where millions lived;

Subcontinent their very own,

I saw great wealth of wonders there,

Rich variations on a theme.

57 How can I here fully explain?

I flourished, revelled and took

Delight in my discovery

Of land and peoples strange to me.

58 It was so varied, wonderful,  

This world I too myself to look.

There is still so more to explore

I always wish to wander more.

59 So many times I travelled east,

To Asian lands, peculiar,

And filled with magic of their past,

But I loved best my northern home.

60 My happy berth in Angle Isle 

Was where I lived my days in peace,

The memories of good times were

Cherished so in thought and word.

61 I gained such wealth in those years of

Ecstatic laughter, radiant smiles,

I keep it vivid and alive,

Internal fire immaculate.

62 I often think of yesterday’s

Unbounded happiness of youth

I think of all the friends I had

Forever young will they remain.

Part 9 - Decisions and Conclusions

At Home in London, 1986

Poem Part 9

Part 9- Decisions and Conclusions

1974 to 1987

Stanzas 63 to 77

63 But life is long and up and down

Tranquillity does long remain,

And when they come, the troubled times,

We must struggle to peace regain.

64 Resistance fled when darkness came,

I lost my way, I could not see

Years of my time then passed in vain,

A life of purpose lost to me.

65 Then there came into my life

Someone who caused so much ado.

What I remember best of him

Is that his eyes were so dark blue.

66 For many years our life was bound

Together on the same journey.

Did we have then love to share or

Was our life just an empty shell?

67 Now I see clearly that he was

A brilliant ray that warmed then burned;

The fiery sparkle in his eyes

Deceived and did me untold harm

68 In great despair and agony

And tried in vain to run away.

Pure power in his blue eyes destroyed

Each desperate effort to escape.

69 I had no more much time to spare

To live, to love, start again.

Until at last, spurred on by fear

I dared to leap, save destiny.

70 So I took a little part of

The shade of blue deep in his eyes

And set myself to paint my dreams,

Our heritage and future lives.

71 My dreams that came to be both have

His blue, in their own eyes also.

The beautiful and shinning seas,

Rhapsodic shades of skies at dusk.

72 I never ever wished to be 

The one blue-eyes had tried to shape.

He could not understand my scorn,

As to be tamed was not my choice.

73 If he could have changed me I would

No longer be so strong and bright

Then one he may have loved at first,

But I forgot, he could not love.

74 He said I was afraid of him,

And yes, his tongue was sharp as fire.

Tired of his will to destroy

My confidence and all my strength.

75 I never could just be a part

Of someone else’s life story.

I am the very centre of

The unfolding story of my own.

76 So I fought hard and I broke free,

And took all that was mine along,

Our offspring too went home with me

Though to us both forever bound.

77 These hard and troubled times produced

The blooming flowers of our lives.

We can both see so clear in them  

The very best that life can bring.

Part 10 - Return to Brazil

Poem Part 10

Part 10- Return to Brazil

1989 to 2002

Stanzas 78 to 89

78 To be strong means to know when I

Should run away or should remain,

Avoiding dangers all the while

That can corrupt and lead astray.

79 Believe you me, I will not long

From my planned route now deviate.

Just as a river runs its course

So right on track, I’m sure to stay.

80 As when a warrior has but one

Choice left, to fight on come what may,

My final battle I recount,

One I as usual squarely face.

81 The day at last dawned sad and grey 

When I departed English shores,

My Birth land recalled me back to face,

Embrace my final destiny.

82 Reluctantly I crawled back hither

Familiar mountains of my youth,

But many years had now passed by

And changed my native wonderland.

83 So I went there with heavy heart

And anxiousness, foreboding, fear.

It was a struggle from the start

I felt no more felt I belonged there.

84 My unavoidable trail back,

This necessary sad return,

Foreigner now to these parts felt,

We all had grown so far apart.

85 The land of brilliant shinning sun,

Greens creeping to touch the earth

From trees in gardens everywhere,

Gave me a home where I could rest.

86 My verdant giant landmass is

So rich in love and human warmth,

But on it I just existed

In most troubled solitude.

87 People in this enormous land

Do not all have angelic thoughts!

Understand me not, they see me

As a stranger in their midst.

88 For long I strove to find support,

It was a time when I relearned

That I would find my real strength

As ever, only in my-self.

89 So at that time I did decide,

To be the captain of my life.

Wealth was all I thought I’d need,

All I needed to find there.

Part 11 - A Private War

The Press Building, Belo Horizonte

Poem Part 11

Part 11- A Private War

1987 to 2013

Stanzas 93 to 100

90 Still south strangers tried to approach

Our enclosed family circle,

But found it to be well locked in.

Did not belong to our old home.

91 These enemies tried to destroy us,

They challenged facts of our own past

Vomited words, false myths, and dross,

Attempting to rewrite our lives.

92 We fought with calm and dignity

Silence and distance always kept

It took such strength just to survive

Surrounded  by vulgarity.

93 To combat go! Warriors fight on!

Your battles every day to meet!

With truth and Law and right onside,

You will emerge victorious!

94  We had the value of old bonds,

Of precious past us three had shared,

Of the family only ours,

And no one else outside our home.

95  The memories of a common past

The stories of childhood,

Create solid links and ties that

Strangers can’t pierce however strong.

96 This made us close together stay,

As we had never had to be.

Accepting all our differences,

With new respect love and esteem.

97  I had gone back to early past,

To what was left of the old life.

We fought united all our foes,

Parents instruction bearing fruit.

98 After war, tired, had to leave

And lose my anchor yet again.

So by the sea I came upon

The most ideal stepping stones.

99  I made my wondrous hideaways,

Glorious in beauty created,

Escaping from city of hell,

Where I could no longer exist.

100  But still too close proximity,

Not far enough from torment site.

I longed to go to further coasts,

Of Angle forefathers to the north.

Part 12 - Back to England

royal Academy

Poem Part 12

Part 12 - Back to England

2003 to 2013

Stanzas 101 to 113

 101 While I was distant from Brazil,

Became a part of where I’d gone.

Respect I found in English lands,

But lived supported by old home.

102 I studied much, theory learned

Of business to administer.

The price was ample guilt and fear,

When had to fend my-self  alone.

103 Early withdrawn from duties home,

Because of choices I had made

In search of happiness and joy.

Culture I found to put to use.

104 One day I decided to write

The story of the family,

Not allow only false version,

Go unchallenged all alone.

105 These days I am happy to be

Back in my northern place of calm.

Warm south still gives me means to live,

Cold shores supply my peace of mind.

106 The Anglo Saxon world through time

Changed my entire point of view.

I can no longer understand

Another logic than its own.

 107 So only through your eyes I see,

Make all my judgements the same way.

I now reflect your image,

Became ingrained in my own self.

108 It’s not lack of gratitude,

If I love most my northern lawns,

While southern sun can give me warmth,

Provides me shelter and my wealth.

109 When my Birth Land I faced again

I had been travelling many years

Fierce conflicts fought most I had won,

Still had not found means of support.

110 The English soil presented choice,

Gave me a place where I could breathe,

And this is where I now belong,

It has become my own true home.

111 I swayed between weakness and strength,

And am a product of my fights.

I lived for long at last have learned

To try my best to end all strife.

112 I walk along the peaceful streets,

White columned squares, and riverbanks,

Victorian buildings, monuments,

Lavish display of wealth and art.

113 Familiar vistas everywhere

Fill my heart with calm content, in

Old world beauty different terms that

Give me all I could ever wish.

Part 13 - Re-encounter with Love

roberto Gouthier

Poem Part 13

Part 13 – Reencounter with Love

2002 to 2013

Stanzas 114 to 124

114 Could it be true that first love’s flame,

Though buried deep within the heart,

For long so hidden, can it survive?

Almost forgotten through long time?

115 Like tiny little embryo

That waits for life to grow from it,

If it’s never hurt it well may

Have a chance again to spark.

116 Little seed may lie for ever,

Dormant, ignored, unfertilised,

But in the right environment

It springs triumphant into life.

117 One day I saw someone again

Or better still, he once saw me,

He was from another time of

Our own past and very early days.

118 We discovered to our surprise,

The love that bloomed so long ago,

Had down the years somehow survived,

And was still fresh in was in us, alive.

119 When I had found old love again,

I felt the gnawing fear of hurt;

Could he really now leave his past,

And come to live in my new world?

120 So what to do? I was afraid.

And should I run, or should I stay?

Could I remain with him for good?

Or would this be just one more try?

121 It is easy to come and go,

The hard thing is to remain there.

We both were wary of mistakes,

But we decided to try hard.

122 I told him of my Angle isle

Floating on cold majestic seas.

I asked him to come north with me,

To try to love my Xanadu.

123 He said I gave him back his life,

He gave me love that I had lost.

Therefore each other we complete,

Our empty lives are so no more.

124 So many years have passed and we

Have lived in perfect peace and calm.

So I can now at last declare,

That we are happy in two worlds.

Part 14 - The End of a Story

God and My Right

Poem Part 14

Part 14 - The End of a Story


Stanzas 125 to 133

125 So finally I take my leave,

Knowing now I‘ll stay with him.

Together we embarked upon,

A new life of our very own.

126 Each one that comes into our lives,

Do not just someone else replace,

But grow into space, their place,

Special and private, only theirs.

127 My life has now become complete,

With my two children grown so fine.

They warm my life as nothing could,

They are the pillars of my heart.

128 I think life’s been kind to me,

With richness senn as rights of birth,

But the successes I cherished most

Were those acquired by sheer hard work.

129 These are pursuits of intellect

For which I strived insistantly,

With sense of purpose and strong will

I paved the trail I climbed with pride.

130 When I recall though intermittently

Of some old days I struggled to survive,

And times I thought of life as bereft of love;

But no one is forever safe from duldrums.

131 And now I will declare to you that

I have had the life I strove for so.

Most of my dreams came true to me,

And what I wanted, I got too.

132 But then I must remind you all

That what I lost I soon forgot.

I only think of victories,

They are my constant thoughts.

 133 I shall not be vanquished!

The words I use in my battle will

Live forever, and people will hear

My voice until the victory of truth.

 The End

 ©ALP Gouthier

1997 to 2013

Orchids at Home

Motto / Lema

        My motto as a writer: 
       Meu lema como escritora:
The Use of Literature in Defense of Truth
O Uso da Literatura em Defesa da Verdade

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Latest comments

25.08 | 17:07

Está perfeito.Parabéns.Adorei

26.03 | 16:05

Acho que o sofrimento e as perseguições o mudaram, mas ele nunca perdeu seu lado humano.
Fiz o melhor que estava em meu alcance por ele.
Sinto muito sua falta!

26.03 | 15:58

Ele dizia que o maior golpe que recebeu em sua vida foi a intervenção no Banco Financial.
Compartilho com você a visão do grande ser humano que ele foi.

26.03 | 15:54

Muitas vezes eu penso que houveram duas fases principais da vida de meu pai.
concordo com você. Admiro sua atitude de resguardar a boa memória dele.

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