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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.


© Copyright David Selzer

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