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Tag Archives Portugal

TO SEE A WORLD

For Pat Rogerson

 

‘To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower…’

AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE, William Blake

 

From sixteen hundred miles away a friend,

on the southern most edge of Iberia,

with the Maghreb below the horizon,

and all of the South Atlantic beyond,

sends me a photograph of low dunes,

a cobalt sky, and flaxen sands that stretch

almost out of sight – and texts me to say

she imagines the poem I might write there.

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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.

 

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ALMS

On a strip of unfenced scrubland – adorned

with scattered wild roses white and pink –

between the main road and our apartment,

a Roma family had pitched a low tent

of sun-bleached canvas, beneath two stunted

umbrella pines, set up a cooking pot

and tied their horse to a tree with a long tether

so it could graze on whatever was there.

There were three of them: a middle aged couple,

and an old woman – the women in black,

the man as tall,

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SIDE BY SIDE

For you and me, like Henry Moore’s bronze
kings and queens, there is something very
special about sitting together
on a public seat with a majestic view…

***

On the erstwhile Exxon Valdez ride
at the ’90s Epcot Centre, plunging
above Alaska with a dying friend…

Snow falling on Halkyn Mountain over
the estuary from Parkgate promenade
and a fire briefly flaring then dying
by Flint Castle on the distant shore…

A child begging on the corniche at Luxor,
singing, ‘Michael, row the boat ashore,’

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