8 september 2008

In Cordoba

step into a new pair of shoes.
There, your footprints in the azure
stretching over Andalusia!
Go softly through its lanes.
The city melts in the mouth
like candy floss.
What remains is relict.

The Guadalquivir divides here less
from the force of water - the riparian
rites of the Berbers not forgotten -
than the leathersmell flowing
from one end to the beginning;
man-smell, skin-smell,
the smell of conquest and vanquishing;
the almond blossoms on trees nodding
to the south wind.

History abuts here again
to its own explanations;
the Alcazar's Roman bridge,
the river meandering across
the fields of cotton, corn and barley
to the Atlantic Ocean;
new electrical fittings, of course,
and chapters of endless olives.

Outside the lichened Arabic walls
Averroes waits,
while the city's angels take new language courses
and operate the official grapevine.
But you haven't walked out of it yet -
a white handkerchief across the city's face.

Near La Mesqita
and let heaven's music fill in for light -
turn the shadows in the nave
back to the rows, people.
So you will not avert
the breezes from the Yemen
or your silent prayer
through this watchful arch of time
(to a God who will bless
without design, not convert).

Alamgir Hashmi

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9 september 2008

in Ronda

"Whoever has no license now, will never have one."

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10 september 2008

There's more truth about a camp than a house. Planning laws need not worry the improvising builder because temporary structures are more beautiful anyway, and you don't need permission for them. There's more truth about a camp than a house because that's the position we are in. The house represents what we ourselves would like to be on earth: permanent, rooted, here for eternity. But a camp represents the true reality of things: we're just passing through.

Roger Deakin, from Wildwood

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11 september 2008

A kind and attentive reader (thanks Arthur!) sends in a cartoon to which previously I've only known the caption. Triffic.

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13 september 2008

click to enlarge

First morning in Spain: we drove up into the mountains from the coast and stopped to look back the way we'd come. I couldn't find the handbrake on the rental car (it turned out to be a footbrake, that was why) so we put it in gear and a rock behind the wheel to prevent it from rolling into the valley. The smells were of hot rock and hot pine. There were a few cicadas layering into distance. A good place for lunch. The central smudge on the horizon is the Rock of Gibraltar: behind it across the Strait are the hills of Africa.

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14 september 2008

I seem to exist largely on heat, like a newborn spider.
- General Sternwood in Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep

(image: nest of Lycosa tarantula, Spain)

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