Upon a Lunch (A Poem)

On the first Monday in May I saw you three times.

The first time I held an uncertain image in my mind, like a remembered dream. I saw a whitewashed villa high on a hill fronted by a narrow mountain track that wound down to the impossible blue of a summer sea. You stood against a low stone wall at the side of a patio. You barely brushed against it and stone has never touched so softly, so tenderly.

You had come down to the Costa del Sol for the winter. Had you followed the sun? No, the sun had followed you.

I could barely see your face. I could not accommodate such beauty before my eyes and maintain any semblance of order or calm. You inclined your head towards a rose held in one elegant hand. Oh, Spanish rose! You touched it against your lips. Petal to petal. And your curled and swooping eyelashes bestowed acknowledgment and curtsied to the sublime.

The second time I saw you walking along a city street. You wore a black vest embroidered with golden thread, a high necked shirt, tailored trousers and upon your feet were high heeled boots. You stood so tall. Your hair was pulled back tightly and held with a silver comb. The sun shone brightly down and the air was filled with the sound of birds singing praise.

You were elegant as a matador and, as you paraded, passers by moved to look at you. You turned gently towards them, smiled and offered silent, regal blessing. That was enough. In eternal beauty, one moment is enough. As in eternal love.

The third time I sat opposite you at lunch. You murmured softly over dessert and I heard enchanting music. And I could look closely at your face. Not see it, though. Exquisite loveliness and infinite preciousness is like that. It is something one feels a response to, one recognises and not necessarily describes.

I felt my cheeks glow warm and I became aware of profound feelings of pleasure and delight.
My skin felt hot to touch. It might have been the Sirocco blowing north from out of Africa. Warm wind, sweet scented breeze soft with the perfume of sticky toffee pudding.

Tell me, Andalusian princess, Goddess of the high Sierra, are your slender fingers for the drumming of castanets or for beckoning passing hearts to glee?

~ Rob Farley

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