Image by Nathaniel Stewart

Poem introduction

At Cienfuegos I, January 2006. Cienfuegos, that’s in Cuba.

At Cienfuegos I

At Cienfuegos I

Sunset an orange line
drawn carefully
and shaded in
against the horizon
after the row of palms

(soy un hombre sincere
de donde crecen las palmas)

morning after the night rain
sierras newly washed
rise rise and fall
deep blue against the
light blue pale pink sky

majestic silence near
el Palacio de Valle
guarded by palms
the ever present palms
and the new sun
shimmering
(after the rain)
like jewels on the gentle sea

Cienfuegos
not a hundred fires
but some famous
Asturiano
comandante
from some war
(facts pale before imagination every time)

here nothing says
la guerra passed this way
except perhaps the need for
paint to brighten buildings
stuck in time

and in the heart
here people don’t forget…


"At Cienfuegos I", from And Caret Bay Again: New & Selected Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2012), (Alt+0169) Velma Pollard 2012, used by permission of the author and the publisher.