In an ex-pat’s yard – Flemish or Dutch
the name on the gate suggests – the guinea fowl
panic. Two Booted Eagles are circling
down the valley from the ancient forest
of verdant oaks and chestnuts, sectoring
the yellow fields of maize and sunflowers
toward Monléon Magnoac, a village
now but once, before the Black Death, a new town
on a fortified hill top, one of more
than a thousand to soothe the wilderness
of Aquitaine, Languedoc and, here, Gascony
then English aka Norman crown estate.
Yet this was Basque country long before Norsemen
sailed through the Bosporus or up the Volga.
Northern Europeans have returned
as tax paying owner occupiers
rather than liege lords – an irony
which nobody appears to acknowledge.
After a night of rain, the river Gers,
rising in the Pyrenean foothills,
chases through the valley bottom.
It will broaden across the Magnoac
Plateau and flow into the Garronne,
and so into the Bay of Biscay,
Bizkaiko Golkoa in Basque – a gulf
of legendary storms and shipwrecks.
Impervious, as yet, to the almost
all determining past, she has found
a clayey puddle. She stamps and jumps.
The rich, pearly water rejoices.