Monday, 22 August 2016

Summer Poems

from Nina Milton

The Scent of Honey  

In whirls, whorls and slender smells, this scent of honey

In tantalizing whiffs, this scent of honey.

We’re walking by the little brook when it pervades,
Your hand curled over mine, this scent of honey.

Traced by our noses, we search like pigs for truffles
I have the trail you say, this scent of honey.

You tug me up the wooded rise, our faces red,
Air hot with August bakes this taste of honey,

Saplings propel like ski poles, our sandals grind with soil,
When we sniff, it’s growing strong, this scent of honey,

We dream of buzzing meadows, queen bee hives;
Waggle-dances, combs dripping this scent of honey

You lift me, hands huge upon my waist, over the wall.

Not a bee in sight, but still, this scent of honey.

It overwhelms us now, like love, like mystery,
We walk across the grass, breathing this scent of honey,  

See, you say, see that tree, the one shaped like a heart?
That’s the source, the centre of this scent of honey,

 Leaves of bottle-green and corrugated bark,
Limes; golden in our minds, this scent of honey,

The scent we craved, we sought, is here, inside the lime,
The aphids make this smell, this scent of honey

Microscopic eggs beneath the leaves, you laugh.
You say my Nina-lips taste like this scent of honey

Spanish Song

 Heat virgin olive oil in a heavy pan,
Chop onion and gently fry
Crush garlic, but add later in case it might burn.
Heat the grill for the sweet peppers to sear…

 To sear in thirty degrees, 
Lay out the tropical towels 
Smear with factor ten in case we might burn
Add four thin bodies to the heat swirled beach.

Add four thin pork boneless steaks to the pan.
Seal juices while peeling red peppers
Once they have blistered. Slice finely. 
Grind in black pepper, oregano seasoning…

Season for the murmurs of summer, 
For the glitter of the wide sea,
The screech and splash as the children leap,
For the sleepy Spanish tongue; those sun-dried sounds…

Drain and slice a jar of sun-dried tomatoes
Toss into pan the tomatoes and the peppers. 
Cover and simmer for twenty minutes
After which add twenty olives to salt the dish…

Salt in your hair and the feel of sand
Where the bar of your flip-flops grinds between your toes
Coming up the hill from the beach, stepping over wild thyme
Under the acacia trees into the marble chill of Los Arcos.

Chill the wine in the marble cooler,
As you lay out the ceramic you bought in Valencia.
Sweet pepper skins lift; gift-wrapped in scarlet tissue 
Spoon out the cerdo espanol and fluff up the rice

Long evenings, filled with fast guitars,
Smells of ceno from the next apartamento 
Twirl round the table to Flamenco,
Fast guitars and Spanish song.


Morning glories bloom
 early now,
before the the pollen sneezes start
and ice cream sweet-melts on the tongue. 
Strawberries are red as lover’s kisses,
the roses are in thrall to their own perfume,
And on the hornbeam, a chaffinch
sings out his power.

It is honeysuckle hot,
butterflies flirt and foxgloves
charm bees to enter,
opening like willing virgins. 

Bats flit as the summer night calms,
still half-lit with long sun. 
Under the hornbeams,
the beckoning grass is cool…tall…

Faro Island, Algarve.

She said; 
It’s a long road, straight, you can’t miss it once you’ve turned the roundabout.
She said;
Go over the bridge. That’s what makes it an island. 
 She said;
You’ll see where to park. You can buy an ice cream.
She said; 
 No one stays long.

She didn’t say;
Walk along the leeward side, facing the mainland, you won’t see a soul all the way.
She didn’t say; 
Climb over the brackeny dunes and stroll the beach, the Atlantic wind in your hair.
She didn’t say;
The moored boats are like jewels and the birds are wishes that can fly.
She didn’t say; 
You’ll think the little houses are shuttered against the winter until someone cries ‘Carlos! Comida!’

 She said to tell her what we thought of Faro island.
 We told her we liked the ice cream.