STANZA ALACANT - EXILED




Stanza Alacant is a Poetry Society poetry group run by Christopher North in the Marina Alta area of Alicante province in Spain. I have been fortunate to be a part of this group of committed and talented poets who provide a safe and supported community to share, criticise and improve our work. Their new anthology 'For the Sake of the Forest' is to be presented on 14th December at the Seu University in Benisa where the 10th anniversary of the group will be celebrated with readings from the anthology and a reception. All are welcome to join us.


This is an old poem I shared with Stanza friends. It is always interesting to revisit old poems as they reveal the feelings of the time when written. After so long in Spain I no longer notice the small things that make it seem so different and exotic to visitors but I still remember the feeling of being exiled. I was told by doctors I could never return to live in the UK so for sometime I did feel exiled. It took some years to stop pining for my friends and family, the green beauty of England, the culture and values of society. During that transition I made friends here, came to appreciate the culture of my new home, learned the language, became a local councillor and raised my children as trilingual European citizens. I am happy to be here and grateful to the EU freedom of movement that made it so easy for us. I dearly hope that the decision to leave the EU (taken in a referendum in which and many others were denied a vote) will not stop the freedom of people to live in other European countries which for me has been both a life affirming and life saving decision.


EXILED


Like moths lured by light
away from the dark drear of an
English winter, sipping coffee
on a Valencian street lit by orange globes,
glowing midst verdant leaf.

Senses spiked as smell of sweet almond and
pungent sardine floats through open windows.
Cordite and smoke drift, smarting
as sonic shocks proclaim fiestas, 
weddings or Barca’s goals.

Blackbirds in urban garden
replaced by 'El Carrascal'
terraced with knobbled olives,
capped with holm oak and pines
as  swooping 'estorninos' fly.

Ears attune to lilting cadence.
Once impenetrable, Castillian
rendered flat with midland vowels.
Customs entwine as All Saints
meets Halloween ghouls.

English essence diluted, immigrant children
Spanish chatter, mother tongue reserved
for Sundays when paella competes with roast.
Pangs of loss once suffered flown.
The exile´s home. 




© 2017 Jacqueline Claire Knight.  All rights reserved. 

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