Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: El Cafe a la Esquina de Agua y Vida, Seville

Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate

Jeffrey Thomson of Farmington dispels the darkness of November in Maine with this sunlit view from a cafe in Seville, describing the lively scene around him in a single, breathless sentence.

El Cafe a la Esquina de Agua y Vida, Seville by Jeffrey Thomson

Near the cafe at the corner of Water and Life
in the plaza of blood oranges at the bend
of the whitewash and archways of old stone,
between the congregation of traffic and the soft hammers of the cathedral bells,
near baths made by Peter the Cruel and alongside the tiny carapaces of smartcars hived in the old Jewish quarter where the exhausted-piss-whiff of the city wanders off into the Jardines de Murillo where fists of palms and geometric rigmarole circle the fountain?ficus and terra cotta frescoes of the Christian everlasting: the gold leaf, the halo, Madonna adoring? near the dead-end of the road of death, beneath keyhole arches at the mark of midyear and in the shadow of el Real Alcazar (layered cathedral of all that?s holy here?Christian on Muslim on Roman on something far older), where wings of the canopy angle out to hide me from the wallop of the noonday sun in the square where I?m sipping a vinho verde that tastes like the effervescence of granite and hot straw, the woman at the public fountain, with an ache and a fine delicacy, runs damp hands through her spray of dark hair, sops the hot arch of her neck, and trails fingers down her bare arms the way Christ might have washed Magdelane had he been a just bit more human.

Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2014 by Jeffrey Thomson. Reprinted from Connotation Press, 2014, by permission of Jeffrey Thomson. Please note that the column is no longer accepting submissions; comments about it may be directed to special consultant to the poet laureate, Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, at mainepoetlaureate@gmail.com or 207-228-8263. Take Heart: More Poems from Maine, a brand new anthology collecting the final two and a half years of this column, will be available late this year from Down East Books.