Glory of Spain: Two New Poems
By Seymour Mayne
This past November I was fortunate to spend a week in Córdoba again,
staying within an orange's throw of the Mezquita-Cathedral. The
crowded but colourful streets of the old city are filled with shops,
many of them displaying the leather goods for which the city is
justly famous. As I was taking my time wandering one afternoon,
the poem "Córdoba" flew into my awareness and I quickly drafted
it at a nearby cafe.
"Above the Puerta" is another poem given to me, so to speak,
on another walk, this time alongside the Juderia, the old Jewish
quarter, where one of the gates of the old walls opens to a small
but busy square. The flocks of birds that late afternoon seemed
to be sending some kind of message by way of the code of their flying
and diving, and the late afternoon sun only highlighted their metaphors
Córdoba is best savoured in the late afternoons and early evenings
when the light and the quiet of the narrow streets enhance the Andalusian
languor and urge the traveler to sink further into his or her wondering--and
There is a smell of leather
of tanned hide.
Even the walls
as if with the slow
strokes of a tanner.
They are thickened
by each blow
without word, past
Hold Córdoba snugly
hold her close
full as she
a seasoned satchel
bleached and baked
by the impassive
but crafty sun.
ABOVE THE PUERTA
for Bernd Dietz
over the palms,
wheel back again
to our feet
They are high,
the pacific sun
nudged them into
thousand and one
perches and shelters
the ancient walls.
at the ceramic
They shatter the peace
armistice of sleep.
Travelterrific is honoured to feature the work of Seymour Mayne.
Seymour Mayne, Professor of Canadian Literature at the
University of Ottawa, is the author, editor or translator of more
than forty books and monographs. His most recent collections include
Carbon Filter (Mosaic Press), and a selection of humourous
and satirical poetry, Light Industry (Mosaic Press).