With Apologies to Vallejo


This poem came from a prompt to write a poem based on “Black Stone Lying on a White Stone” by César Vallejo. As is often true of poems I write from prompts, it quickly veered far from the original instructions, but I think the influence is evident enough yet to explain the title.

The time I spent on Skye with Lachlan didn’t end as I would have hoped but it was a peaceful, unhurried time in my life when I deeply needed that.

With Apologies to Vallejo

(for Lachlan)

I will fall in love on a Wednesday, when the quiet
Is a thing that can be tasted in the air like peatsmoke.

We will walk along the road that ends at the sea,
Past the machair-chewing coos and a flutter of
Collared doves saying their names to the shepherd’s
Moonlighting dog endlessly trying to bunch them up.

It will be raining. It’s always raining. That’s a part of it here,
Like the tide’s extremes and a world you can see all the edges of.

The coos will come and poke huge, steaming noses
Through the slats of the half-indifferent fence,
Blow snuffling flowers at us to mingle with the
Sea-smell and the shit-smell, the smell of here.

It will be on a Wednesday because Wednesday is when
Nothing else happens, so there’s room for falling in love.

I’ll say the words and they’ll take shape in the peated air,
Rise with the butterfly whose spotted wingtips they cling to,
The staunch meadow brown that flies on Wednesday afternoons
When the coos forage among nervous herons and the weather’s dreich

(2016)

(photo: Wikipedia)

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