A Rooftop in Spain – a poem by Clive Donovan

A Rooftop in Spain

Stretched on the cluttered terraza,
relishing the shade, with jasmine in my nostrils,2
while dodging spiny bushes in cracked urns
and pondering my English exasperations
at slapped-on paint, cankered concrete,
beautiful but ever-detaching céramica,
where wood and plaster rot in rain and searing sun.

Yet the anarchy of rooftops attracts my gaze;
the unplanned reckless riot below,
with the neighbours and their washing lines so very close.
A woman rages at her daughter
for some dangerous mistake
– slamming that big, iron door, probably
and, obstinate, the toddler retaliates with screams.

And after a lull, the mother sings:
a complicated song with percusión de mano,
her voice uncoloured with regret – each moment's
nugget of joy in passionate throat – and a second voice;
as they exult in song defiant, the child caught
and taught to know and willing pay – Acepto! –
– Duende! – the cost and end of everything.

Clive Donovan devotes himself full-time to poetry and has published in a wide variety of magazines including Acumen, Agenda, Amethyst Review, Prole, Sentinel and Stand. He lives in Totnes, Devon, UK. He is a Pushcart and Forward Prize nominee for this year’s best individual poems and his first collection, The Taste of Glass, is recently published by Cinnamon Press.

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