Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hot wordle 71

The empty road in front
the empty road behind
just a trail of dust
where we drove past
and heat
so hot it's heavy.
A flock of sheep,
felted and breathing as one,
around the rose-coloured trunks
of the cork oaks'
blessed shade.
We move slowly
as the sun moves slowly
to the west
and wait for the air to cool.
Only the essentials;
drinking litres of water
lifting a pencil,
tracing patterns in the dust -
this is the recipe
for survival.
A kind of dormancy.
Just thinking about work
creates a sweat,
a dread almost.
The house to build,
the fence to mend,
the brambles to cut.
But one cannot operate
in this heat,
so we wait
like the sheep
in the shade
our thoughts like a chain
linking Spring to Autumn
with a cool beer in the hand,

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Some Short Bits

 A view of our activities on this precious earth

The Pig Man

I was out driving on an old dirt track, exploring, discovering new short-cuts and old ruins, when I came across the pig man.
The pig man walks his pigs through the cork oak forest. He lives with them. Eats his bread with them. Tall and gaunt, the clothes live on his body, black and brown. I pass and wave from the car. At first he doesn't react and I think I'm being snubbed, another bloody foreigner, when slowly he reaches for his worn-shiny cap and raises it from his worn-shiny head. He swings it round in an arc, an all-embracing wave. A beautiful, courtiuos movement from the dark ages, of chivalry and serfdom. I am honoured and humbled by his expansive grace,his acknowledgement of my passing. Then I am gone, the dust settles, the noise fades, and he is left with his pigs in the heat-beaten clearing.

Veggie burgers,or falafel,or hummus,etc.

The preparations begin around about November when I start to find Zé. Zé is a small, round septegenarian, who has a small round, shiny green tractor. He has no phone in his house and he lives alone, but he is surrounded by his family. So word gets round. He is found. I ask him if he can come and plough.
The months pass. I think that he has forgotton, when one day in spring, he comes over the horizon, silhouetted by the rising sun.
When the soil is ready I reach for my chosen implement, the enxada; a one-woman plough, a heavy hoe, designed in neolithic times, and adapted sometime in the iron-age, to be plunged, not pulled, through the tilth. I make a line twenty paces long. I grab the bucket full of dried chick peas, and cast them, three at a time, foot by foot along the line. The next line made covers the first, and so I continue until all the seeds are sewn.
Three months later they are drying on their stalks in the hot summer sun. I pull them from the earth. They rattle, the small pods containing one chick pea each. I lay them in a pile and begin to dance on them. Crunching and crushing the stalks, the leaves, the pods. The chick peas pop out and roll. Dancing on a floor of ball-bearings, I twist and turn and grind them out of their paper houses.
Now they are ready for the wind. I lift handfulls and drop them through my fingers and watch the chaff blow sideways as the chickpeas fall and bounce below. The wind comes in gusts and sighs. I wait for the next big sigh.
With chick peas now safely harvested I can prepare the meal.

Stretch Marks

They lie across my lower abdomen like the Ganges Delta, silver in the sunlight, soft as whispers. Very special skin. From the source upwards, like the flames of the fire for the pheonix, ready for rebirth.
I lie naked on the beach absorbing the rays, lulled by the continious thunder as waves crash onto the long stretch of sand. My mind drifts to these marks that will not tan. I remember the love that brought them there and the first-born son.
His first dark blue wonder-full look,so unconditional – and now the silence of painful separation. I pushed him out of my body once. Later I pushed him out of my life. A pain much greater, to let him go, to let him grow.
I send him love on the river of life.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Road Home

In the map
in my mind
I see the road home,
above the loch
towards the Narrows
where the Atlantic rushed in
and flooded the shoreline,
then sucked back out
as though some invisible
plug had been pulled.
Currents spinning
seals swimming
silver glint of salmon.

On the other hand
the old stone walls
darned with moss
and lichen
and lacy ferns.
Following the contours,
solid, ancient.

Memories of the past ricochet
in the alcoves of my mind
where the maps remain
even when the image
and fades to just a smell
of bog myrtle
and the sound of an oyster catcher
on the shoreline.