wish you were here

A day later than planned but that’s because I’m up in limestone mountains in Alicante, and spent time when I would I might have writing, pottering about on a ridge with views of Benidorm high-rises in the far and misty distance, while I looked for the remaining bones of a fox whose larger bones have been organised into a piece of work on my window ledge at home. It’s a sort of conceptual piece, a synthesis of Damien Hurst and Ted Hughes. Anyway. I found the remaining 14 or so smaller bones that have stayed undisturbed since last October, and they are now in a sandwich bag, and will be reunited with the others. I have imagined her to be a vixen. No idea why.

Last week I was rambling about Norman MacCaig’s ‘I took my mind a walk’. So let me take you round the town of Relleu in a sort of silent movie. No teacherly stuff this week. Just a poem about Sunday morning, called, unsurprisingly:

Sunday Morning

this narrow morning street

is shadowed canyon-cold and quiet

as an aftermath where the woman

in a shapeless cardigan tips out a bucket

and sluices granite setts as blue as mussels

and at the street’s steep end the sun has warmed

the church whose doors are set with steel

and damascened with hammered copper nails

and underneath the latticed iron balconies

a corrugated garage iron door is rattled up

and no one’s coming out but

three men in biker boots and leathers

appraise a Yamaha

and pink and lemon lycra cyclists

spool roud a curve and out of sight

as the old man shuffles carefully across

the way and disappears

and the blind man tap taps his way

along the wall and his mouth is pursed

and his smokeblack glasses reflect nothing

church bells aretolling flat and cracked

across the valley’s olives wild flowers oranges

the soil as pale as pastry the million terraces

the windscoured crumbling turrets

piercings crenellations revetements

the patchwork roofs the tiles

and all the untrodden paths and tumbled stone

the tended trees the ironwork on peeling doors

the blue graffiti on a Moorish wall

the cool greenness of a cistern this car

that’s slowly turning into rust

down in the gulley where the road turns

steep and tight back on itself

the river long since drained into its bed

geraniums that want for sun

behind a crusted grille

that need a drink and all this myriad

strange particular stuff


and you turn the corner

and stop dead for fear of falling

into distances where only mountains live

that only birds can understand

this endlessness beyond

the shadowed street

where a woman in the quiet

early Sunday morning

sluices granite setts

so that they shine

like mussel shells.


That’s it for this week. I’m off to look for bones, and, maybe eagles. Hasta luega. As they say.

3 thoughts on “wish you were here

  1. Reliving Relleu as I read this in Rutland greyness! Have a fantastic time you old fox-hunter!! Say Hola to Chris and Ann! xxx


  2. Bob and Janet…chuffed that you’re reading it. And I should have said thankyou sooner. Too busy walking and writing. Which isn’t really an excuse…like saying: sorry I’ve not written but I’ve been indulging myself


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