Change of season

Two striking things happened in Barcelona last week: it rained, and then it got cold. We’re talking hats, scarves, gloves, and boots. So it’s kind of ironic that I wrote this poem last week, inspired by a house I passed on my walk home from work.

Bougainvillea on a whitewashed wall

Bougainvillea on a whitewashed wall, hibiscus in November. It doesn't really look like fall, at least not like I remember.

Where I come from, it used to rain, cold wind would rake the sky. One day you'd take a look outside, and trees had turned to fire.

Such beauty there, such beauty here, I try to love it all. Eternal summer has its charm, but I really miss the fall.

The words he sang to me

I saw a banner on the street advertising a concert by a well-know Valencian singer-songwriter, Raimon. Every time I see his face or hear his name, I remember the first time I heard a beautiful song that he wrote using the words of the poet Ausi├ás March. It’s called “Veles e Vents” (sails and winds). There is also a beautiful folk song in English “Four Strong Winds“. In Catalan, they divide the wind into 8, each direction with its own resonant name. I recommend listening to both these songs.

So on the day I saw this banner hanging above me, the first line for this poem began to roll through my head. Eventually, this is where it led…

The Words He Sang to Me

"Veles e vents", the words he sang to me. Words of a man long-married to the sea.

He tried to love me, but no chance of that. His foreign heart could not speak anything but praise of Her. Her scent, her taste, the way she caught the light.

He loved the rasp of coarse rope nets. "Her braids," he said, and smiled. "Some days she's angry, others calm, and someday I will lie so deep within her arms I'll not come back."

And that's the way it's always been with men who work the sea. They'll love you for a little while, but she gets Eternity.

His song had names for all the winds that blow across her face, and I have learned them all by heart. That much she can't erase.