Algarve Trilogy

Algarve Trilogy


Where the Stork flies
and a green sea of marsh
breaks into rivers of blue
to the flat horizon:
past mischief
and the road to perdition,
choice viewing in the flat.

A dirt road and scruffy shacks,
damp and wreaking urine,
and a softer scent of flowers
that we somehow cannot find
this year in northern climes.


A grey wash on the morning
tousles the ragged fan palm.
Behind red and yellow lichened pantiles
peeps a square colonial remnant
with one curtained window:
a baleful eye.
Beige and grey concrete blocks,
some turquoise strips of 60's paint,
television aerials and satellite dishes,
the pointless art of a stonemason's fancy,
curlicewed on the old town hall.
Broken doors and peeling paint
where cracks reveal empty courtyards
dried fountains, and staircases leading
to impossible Escher destinations.
The smell of orange blossom
and dog shit.


Il Desierto

All day the wind has whistled around the flats.
We live cocooned in a crystallised rug of edifices.
As far as the eye can see,
courtyards give way to walls, topped by,
balconies below flat roofs with lonely kennels and a mess of aerials.
Between the concrete, massing clouds,
flat sand spits and marshes,
a distant lighthouse
and always, this worrisome wind.
Soudade. Solitude. Hiraeth. Lonesomeness.
Huck's whippo'will,
Nostromo's screechowl,
Peter's Cockerel,
the darkling plain of Dover Beach.
I stand on the point of a whitening sand spit

Circling an island, walking and walking

Against this wind; the promise of home
just around the shoreline
always receding,
like the horizon
of this perplexing world.

Heather Gatley

Heather Gatley is a retired English Literature teacher. Born in Cyprus to British parents, she has lived and worked all over the world.  She currently resides in Taipei. Relatively new to publishing, her work has appeared in the online magazine, Proximity, volume 1; Scarlet Leaf Review; The Carmarthen Journal and Centered on Taipei.

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