Tag Archives acacia

A DAY OUT

From one of the high rise budget hotels

in Portimao we picked up a group

of six challenged men and their two minders.

(Portugal, our tour guide told us later,

was enabling those – institutionalised

since childhood for learning difficulties –

to take vacations, with supervision,

from the drab, echoing, noisome halls).

Two were remarkable: a gaunt fellow

bent permanently double, always moving,

keeping close to the other, a joker

with moustached Arabic looks and frightened eyes.

 

We crossed the Arade – more reed bed now

than river – and entered ancient Silves;

visited the cathedral – an erstwhile mosque –

and the Moorish castle. The jester

talked almost without breathing, the bent chap

by his side. We drove through regimented

plantations of pine, acacia,

eucalyptus, climbing towards the spa town

of Caldas de Monchique – cool beneath its oaks

and umbrella pines. The stooped lad

ran quickly from shade to shade. His mate

spoke rapidly to the halcyon air.

 

We ascended Mount Foia – with its shop,

café, and air force radar station.

Westwards we could see Cape St Vincent,

the Atlantic – south imagine Morocco.

The two young men were sitting on a step,

out of the wind, smoking roll ups, watching

a family – mum and dad, two boys –

flying a crimson kite.

 

 

 

 

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