By Hortense Hargreaves

From “Le Ciel est Bleu and other poems”




Through the snow mimosa stretches.

Branch upon branch of glistening yellow

Reaches towards ‘Canigou’,

mountain of church-like splendour.

So many dark days lived by all.

Forgotten? Not yet.

Cherry orchards.

A paradise of fruit so red, so dark,

so utterly devoid of shame, waiting

for the right moment to please, nodding

towards the pine trees, palm trees,

majestic and statuesque flirting

coyly in the breeze.

And then the vines.

Pruned to perfection and kissed by the sun

like soldiers, ready to serve

and soon

in triumph will offer the fruit – but not yet.

Come, see for yourself

this land hammered from rock

its people chiselled from history.

Above the   towns

bold symbols of ancient conflicts

the fortresses squat benignly now.

Gold and red, the colours of honour

as we hear the sounds of the ‘Cobla’.

The planes fetch and carry

and we think we know – but do we?

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