South of Spain
Walking near Tarifa beach
is that the continent of Africa we see,
and just across the bay?
The Sunday strollers give no hint,
and anyhow, the kite surfers,
whose sails billow in pulling
multicolour bands, flash and grab our eyes
to the risky water games they play.
Next morning on another nearby beach
we come across great hulks of fibre glass -
motorless, rudderless flat bottom boats
dragged far up into the dunes away
from no sea game but deadly contest
played with just two chances,
a migrant wave who drown
or reach a ragged freedom.
Life being both price and prize -
one lived on the margin of Europe’s table,
but for the others only
the faintest memorial;
someone has stencilled
the sides of fibreglass
with human effigies,
one for each beach found corpse,
numbered now in hundreds.
They come from Africa,
across the bay,
it’s hard to see.
Terminal Oil Choice
We stop for heat rest
among the olive groves of Jaen.
The landscape had become heavy lidded
and the golds suffused to purples
on the haunches of the further hills.
Beneath the spikey parasol of green
we take the shade that soaks the sun
into a maze of energy and health -
these hanging drupes and good-for-alls
refresh the stulting day, while
breaking through the silence
a gurgling trickle of silver water is
running from a system of narrow pipes
-it’s feeding time for the roots below.
As I step for bread and cheese
a supprise glut of glistening mud
has me slide a near comical fall
This is lethal, I say.
The Moors first developed
The Spanish settlers named this city
after a brightly colored bird
in an irony so grounded and caged
it now wears a cloak of resigned melancholy.
Tending a garden that had become overgrown I swop
morning notes with one who survived by staying on the wing.
Outside my wall cars and buses with crabby engines crawl and foul the air with a dense of badly burned petroleum.
In a country so burdened with riches it took the work
of centuries to fully sequester all that was desired.
The bodies of drunks lying in the Sunday morning streets are never robbed, there’s nothing more to take.
The field is pale now, wan.
Yesterday I watched a harvester
march strip after strip
intense and brutal cut
of violent grass letting
gush an arch of green
into a noisy red trailer.
The cutting season has come round.
Now it looks all whacked out,
like a beaten boxer supported
by a ropey ring of green hedgerow,
while rooted in its stubble ends
are just dreams of shoots -
the lost lushness waits.
It’ll come, the sun warmed day,
the slaking mist and raking rain.
A cattle fodder cycle starts again.
Ruary O'Siochain © 2009