orangerie southern portugal

travel poetry / chez christine

Travel poetry from Southern Portugal orangerie…

A bird hoos like a daylight owl
while the wild clicking of cicadas
build in blankets of sound then settle
back into the hum of the trees.

A gentle wind chime. Rooster next door.
Someone slipping quietly into 
the salt water pool, 
head above water.

Purple flowers over the big farm table 
fall into my hair and on the page
while I write, they stick to everything, 
a temporal crown.

Bursting lemons hang impossibly heavy 
on light branches.
Wind blows the table cloth around the legs 
of white wrought iron chairs.

Pots and palms and flowering brush line the pools edge.
It's an oasis in the baked summer of Southern Portugal.

Orange orchard sweeps out in abstract lines behind the pool,
A gardener rakes the soft ground around the trees and pulls
low grasses and weeds into a pile with her hands.
Bare brown fingers pull and pat the earth back together.

The other two couples staying here are quiet, a bit melancholic.
I imagine what they are celebrating, mourning, resting from.

We all join for breakfast together at 9am 
but each alone with their other, mostly not talking

We circulate the table of jams, honeys, fresh fruit, yogurt and  
sliced cheeses, a bit damp in the morning, fragrant. 
Basil and orange, mint, honey and pepper jellies. 
Christine pulls fruits and squeezes the oranges from her orchard.

I can see the large well-sculpted feet of the gardener, peeking out 
from under a tree. Her leather sandals are thickly strapped, 
well worn and made to her feet through sweat and rhythm, crouching. 

When I look again it's just her hands, upper and lower body 
obscured by foliage, she pulls leaves deftly. Brown hands, 
strong fingers, her little eden framedby lemons, hibiscus, 
rhododendrons, an aloe. The tender is also the sculpture.

Christine comes out and looks at me. "C'est vous que je vais appeler.." 
I stop. "Hana," she calls out into the garden. "Ouiiii" answers the hands.

swimming pool southern portugal hana ryan


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