Friday, June 28, 2013

The colours of Asturias: a poem

the flag of the region should be green, black and red

Asturias is certainly verdant green, but it is also black

the black of the miners lung
and the almost permanent colour of his spit
it is also that sightless place of no mercy
at the bottom of the pit where
another of Franco's victims is thrown  

Asturias has a history the color of carbon
the same earthy tint as the blood sausage
that has fed its people
and black like the hide of a cow
who has quietly ruminated on its grassy hills .

and there is that black of a thousand widow’s dresses
mixed with that black of the children’s despair
at their fathers early death
the same dim shade of the early morning forest where
the dictators enemies hid shivering, hungry, but unbroken

and the crucial Asturian black
the lump of its freshly-mined coal
or that frivolous fully-rotten apple
as dark as the night-time ocean that empties itself
into rivers like the Nalón
as brutally stark as an unlit mine

and it might too have been
the charcoal feathers of a bird
that watched all this great grim past
with its darting granite eyes 

and Asturias has a culture full of red
red like some of those ripened apples
that make the people's everyday cider
not as red as those huge painted silos that hold it all

the enflamed red too of the wild flowers that grow here
and the smoky paprika powder that is sprinkled
on yet more cooked potatoes

but it is also the red of the dead
the civil war corpses and the slaughtered soldiers
that ruby rich hue that also inhabits the church wine
and the vino tinto waiting on the table

or even red like the double bars of the Spanish flag
with that saffron yellow lying
in between those royal stripes

and also that arterial red
of those painted iron trains
the ferrocarill
that opened up
the heart
of Asturias

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