poetic journeys: portugal redux

Portugal Redux

It wasn’t the country I remembered
with its laundry flapping on balconies, whimsical
as crêpe paper streamers in breezy sunlight.

No, it was chilly lichen-covered grottoes
invaded by Chinese tourists; it was dampness
seeping through limestone under hunkering leaden skies.

It was lines of sodden jeans hanging
heavy over azulejo walls.
It was jumbles of anchors and fishing nets

and boats with prows full of innuendo
– of forbidden fruit and soft eggs and
pink flamingos. It was ropes and seahorses

and tiny sardines locked tightly in colorful cans.
It was wind and rain whipping palm trees amidst
candy-striped cottages, once “haystacks” for fishermen,

and grasses rushing over dunes under hurrying skies.
It was jagged and rocky cliffs where the sea, like a fool,
flung itself, shattering into airborne shards of glass.

It was phallus-shaped San Gonçalo cakes
nibbled by lonely older women
hungry for love. On a steep hill,

a castle, once belonging to Moors,
hovered like a long-forgotten menace, invisible
in the fog. Buildings squatted, mired in dereliction.

Was it really me here before,
that summer
– alone –
when I imagined myself as someone else,
a woman on the verge of astonishment?


“POETRY” Invitation: I invite you to write a poem of any poetic form on your own blog about a particular travel destination. Or you can write about travel in general. Concentrate on any intention you set for your poetry.

One of my poetry intentions for my trip to Portugal was this:  Pick 6 words describing something you encounter in your travels and write a poem weaving these together. The six words I picked were: 1) grotto; 2) azulejo; 3) laundry; 4) phallus-shaped; 5) seahorses; and 6) sardines. √

You can either set your own poetic intentions, or use one of the prompts I’ve listed on this page: writing prompts: poetry. (This page is a work in process). You can also include photos, of course.

Include the link in the comments below by Thursday, February 6 at 1:00 p.m. EST. When I write my post in response to this challenge on Friday, February 7, I’ll include your links in that post.

This will be an ongoing invitation, on the first Friday of each month. Feel free to jump in at any time. 🙂

I hope you’ll join in our community. I look forward to reading your posts!