A poem for my wife

I’ve just returned from a European trip that mixed some business with a great pleasure: walking with my wife through the mountains and cork forests of Portugal’s rural Alentejo region.

I’ve been writing (and occasionally publishing) poetry since I was seven years old, but these days find it hard to create the kind of space and time that poetry needs. A combination of walking all day and reading all evening always brings back this part of me, though, and this poem more-or-less wrote itself while we sat after sunset watching the light fade through the windows of our room in the beautiful TrĂªs Marias.

The yellow flowers mentioned in the poem are lupins, and fill whole fields throughout the region. They’re planted both to be used as fodder for livestock and because they’re legumes, meaning they enrich the soil with nitrogen. They’re also very beautiful: there’s a fine shot of a typical field here.

To be
in white rooms with flowers
and fading light
beyond long windows looking out
to mountains;
yellow flowers, pagodas
of violent light constrained,
of daylight cut and watered in glass bowls
on white tables in white rooms
whose tall windows glance with unshuttered dusk,
vanishing mountains,
clouded sky,
a field
of darkened uncut flowers under birdsong.
To be
watching this from a white room, sipping
black tea from blue china,
chasing yellow flower-light into the stark walls’ angles;
this, my love,
is paradise.

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