THE NIGHT OF SAN JUAN




San Juan is celebrated in Spain with bonfires on the beach. People take a picnic, eat together and then jump over the flames and splash in the waves. Your troubles are said to be consumed by the fire, some people write down what they wish to leave behind and throw the paper in the flames.  Bathing in the sea is to drive away evil, bringing good luck for the rest of the year. Many people make a wish as they jump the waves.  The date is closely linked to the Summer solstice, San Juan also being a celebration of Summer. The Pagan and Christian rituals both emphasise renewal with the combination of fire and water.


This poem describes a special evening of San Juan on a beach near Denia when the weather played its part in the magic. 





NIGHT OF SAN JUAN

Sifting sand through fingers,
mind floating, evening sun warms
milk pale legs, summers first unveiling.

Propped on boned elbow,
watch busy children splashing,
castles raising, wet skin glistening.

Mothers taking turn, waist deep,
hot bodies cool, dry salt prickly,
shielded eyes scan scattered young.

Couples walk the wave line,
arms entwined like braided
fishing line, innocents dreaming.

Sea becalmed, stretched flat,
a shimmering looking glass,
framed with gentle arabesques.

Reverie broken by spiked stings,
wind whisked sand, beach obscured,
tangled hair slapping, eyes weeping.

Towels flap, striped chairs scatter
flipping somersaults, beach gymnasts
chased by papers, straw hats flying.

Families retreat, huddling tight,
backs turned to spiteful wind,
dragging sand heavy bundles.

Skirt tucked in knickers,
memory of Welsh sea paddling,
skip into surf to face angry gale.

Feet sinking, sucked into sand,
braced against streaming affrug,
speckled legs bashed by foaming froth.

Greyness creeps across crescent bay,
horizon lost where mist meets sea,
waves iced with whipped white.

Sky lit with sparked brilliance,
sun kindled hills escape wild fire as
forks rip through clouds, striking sea.

Low grumbling fights gusty shouts
echoing round hill fringed shore,
eclipsed by Juan, Son of Thunder.

Stand alone, hands aloft, embracing,
mind cleansed by storm and sea,
elemental energy, body charging.

Night of San Juan, air stills.
Feasts savoured, bonfires flare,
jump of flame and wave, whisper wishes.

Communion complete,
San Juan magic conjured,
leave beach to fiesta pleasures.



© 2018 Jacqueline Knight Cotterill.  All rights reserved. 




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