Fending off scrubland and bare, blue mountain
Logroño huddles in a heap and appears to slide
Almost lazily away from the slow-moving river.
Originality created and arranged easily
By the gloom trapped inside each filthy passage.
Garbage piles against *****, brown walls,
Crammed together and splintering in the sun.
And now and again a scrap of paper
Will fill huge as a sail and deny these still
October nights with a careless movement,
******, obtrusive and far too sudden,
Like the iron bridge which astonishes the dark
With such bright lights and emptiness, asking
For the beige mac, the turned-up collar and trilby,
The mysterious meeting, the garbled message,
When there is only me and the stone Roman bridge,
Illuminated and from another time.
The road from Santiago and the sandalled
Pilgrim loaded down with belief are no more than
A thing remembered or to wish for. But still,
High above the town, the twin Baroque towers
Of the cathedral resist change, insist on
More than a casual glance as I stand here now,
Balconied above the square, safe with French songs,
Edith Piaf and my cultivated tongue
Which nobody understands, and their so strange
Words which I try to learn, and don’t.
Then suddenly to see you simply among
These narrow streets and crowds of people,
Long boots and beautiful, is more than enough
To recall something bright in life after all.