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Accent and Rhythm

These summer days, still, no wind,
the heat clings.
Languid, your body begs for sleep
like those September afternoons en Sevilla
lying in the rich dark
watching a gecko stop and pace,
stop and pace across the ceiling.
In the cobbled courtyard potted palms
stretch up to ozone blue.
Beyond the wall high like a monastery,
the maze of curved streets is
quiet, no scooter-horns to warn
pedestrians moving along
the hem of footpath.


In Hobart gums shed bark
onto cracked, thirsty ground.
Sunburnt trunks peel like skin,
underneath moist and soft, almost too delicate.
Moths exhausted by flight and black insect specks litter the lino.
We hanker for a thunderstorm
to quench the yellow grass,
relieve itchy eyes, clear the air of dust.


En Sevilla terracotta dust covers your shoes. At the Real Alcazar
a downpour patterns the paths,
gouges miniature runnels
into the compacted ground.
Evenings are freshly dressed with people
in lime-green, orange, pink and red
their paseo a promenade, colours flirt.
Children dash about the plaza,
behind trees and benches tiled in blue.
Andalusian pride is foot-stamping, fierce, forthright,
con brio y gusto
old ladies muscle about in noisy groups.
Desire for conversation greets the twilight,
an off-beat full of promise. I’m left to imagine.
Fire-works laughter cracks open the night.


In Hobart we walk along a beach
our Celtic skins pink and freckled, too delicate.
At the edge of the sea-river
parents dip babies into waves,
dogs cavort, sprinters arrow past
the casual chat of lives scattered across the sand.
I catch fragments.
Neurologist a man says in tones of defiance, brain tumor.
Girls in new bikinis call Roxy, Sheba,
chase Christmas puppies wet and wobbly.
These words I understand, yet I’m left to imagine.


There’s no frill in the voice, no wailing song,
it’s the space here that’s permissive,
fewer people make a crowd.
In the background a mountain darkens
over this tiny city, its heart a pueblo,
and the riot of a red sky
clear of smoke, still, no wind, readies for a full moon.