MORE POEMS WITH PORT

FRIEND TO THE END

Shutters never closed;

sunrise-white curtains

cut the dazzle of first light.

Mid-morning

sun on our backs

down to and up from

the village.

Mid-afternoon

sun sautes,

tans us to gold.

Monochromatic,

sunset skies

help us ignore the chill.

Festival of stars and

phases of the moon

accompany our nightcaps.

Shutters still open

Last sight

amber lights

ascend to mountain villas.

LISBON

Took a bus to Lisbon

early Sunday morning.

Toured the world-class city

And palaces of kings,

Verdant gardens, and boulevards–

Imitations of opulence

on the Champs Elysee

or  Versailles.

Portuguese splendour, however, a very poor cousin.

Rossi Square, the tramway, the Funicular,

The walking streets, the Fado Club,

The nocturnal , downtown taxi ride

Serve the city better.

Made a stop at Sintra.

What a difference here!

Driving up the mountains,

our bus squeezes by

the rambling gypsy market.

Glimpsing gracious dwellings

among flowering trees

on slopes

fascinated.

Stopping at a café

with a blossoming

pink magnolia,

tasting almond pastries,

sipping good white wine—

giddy with joy.

Through the village,

exploring quaint shops,

taking in

the royal summer palace,

savouring sights

of blue Azulejos-tiled walls

in glorious living and dining rooms

(luxurious, but not excessive),

glancing up to see the

Moorish fortress wall

crowning the village,

Looking everywhere—

enchantments.

Driving back to the Algarve,

Sintra is gleaming still,

Estoril beaches are shimmering with spring,

And even Lisbon has its charms.

Through the windows of the bus,

darkening Algarvian countryside–

with its orange groves and corktree farms,

its rice fields and the vineyards—

naturally presenting itself

to heavy eyes

at the end of our day.

A sadness slides through

the windows of the bus:

the people desert the vineyards;

the people are emptying

the countryside

taking the bus to Lisbon

early in the morning.

BRIDGING THE GAP

From our sundeck

we face North Africa.

The head defines the major gap.

Eons ago, teutonic plates shifted,

separated Africa from Europe.

But the Sahara feels so close

when the sun

in the morning

warms us from curling toes

to the hair on our heads.

Our eyes even believe they see

the African coast—

not just a cruise ship

traversing the horizon.

Regardless,

the man in Silves

at the fossil shop

offers much to think about.

His shop full of fossils from Africa,

from the Sahara Desert

where the sands used to rest

2000 feet below water,

where fossils had been cast up

the effluence

of volcanic

eruptions.

The fossil man from Silves

has made a life of searching

for these pieces from the past.

He skillfully cuts open

stone

shaped

like big round seashells—

Amethyst inside.

He diligently polishes

tiny

sardines

caught in volcanic flow

in a vertical school.

He rubs so hard

the skeletal

spines

of the fish

leap white

from the

black onyx

column.

Perhaps it is the fossil man

who makes us feel the nearness of Africa.

A lifetime spent

sailing between the Algarve and Morroco;

winning the trust of Africans who see him

as a brother in love with their fossils;

and he respecting their knowing

where to take him hunting,

their helping him return his findings

so he can make

jewels

for the world.