Terry Gifford, whose eighth collection is A Feast of Fools (2018) is Visiting Research Fellow in Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University, UK, and Profesor Honorifico at the Universidad de Alicante, Spain. ‘Lobsters’, his poem from MacDara’s Day last year, was published by The Galway Review in July 2019. Author or editor of seven books on Ted Hughes, most recently Ted Hughes in Context (2018), he also wrote Pastoral (2020), Green Voices: Understanding Contemporary Nature Poetry (2011) and Reconnecting with John Muir: Essays in Post-pastoral Practice (2006). He is currently writing D. H. Lawrence: Ecofeminism and Nature for Routledge. See http://www.terrygifford.co.uk.
Los Balcones, Alicante
Elegant balconies under taller palms
lift locals from the car strewn streets.
Windows are also doors onto dramas below:
running bulls, running robbers, pickpockets
eluding the heavily equipped Guardia Civil,
neighbours’ feuds shouting into the night,
the dog that bit the priest visiting that widow
with the voice of a rusty rasp in the street.
But they are earplugs to earnest commerce:
double-parked personal representatives
who must take an order before unblocking traffic
to feed a family without even a balcony.
Balconies are blinds to public life,
enclosures of the private, mundane,
sometimes erotic, sometimes contemplative
ease of family life behind the balcony.