Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, August 10, 2014

One Night in Spain
Inspired by "You Hated Spain" by Ted Hughes from “Birthday Letters”

by Marilyn Braendeholm

I was caught by the darkness of Spain
where deep shadows of breeze frightened
us from entering too far. You
thought it was tapas and wine but my Spain
was cool alleys and curtain confessionals where
my northern acclimate prowled like hunger. I
can’t recall despising heat so much. I felt
at war with it. To think I wear thick socks at home.
We ate late to avoid the heat. Everyone did. The
flies circled our heads, hyaenas blood-raw
and biting at our legs. You insisted on light
to see the food on your plate, and the waiter, he
lit a match to a snubbed candle that floated oiled
in cloudy liquid. That fluid, whatever it was, anchovy
oil perhaps, drew the flies so close we saw their faces.
Their sooty eyes begging us to feast, the
wave of our hands to no effect, as rhythms north african
further developed the swelter of heat. A ladder of black
oiled smoke funnelled from the candle, its edges
tempting us into a kiss across the table. Where to,
we asked, where next when everything
about this place frightened
me and you.


  1. You really created a mood here. I almost felt the oppressive heat along with you and the dark shadows of unease. Wonderful!

  2. Marilyn, you brought me back to my own experience in Spain, but I didn't remember the flies. Maybe there weren't so many in Madrid, but the heat I do remember. Great images. Congratulations!!!

  3. Wow ! the sexual tension including the fear - the oily, sooty, dark, candle-lit mood of it all brought me right there even though it is bright and sunny here - I needed to blink when I finished reading to come back to myself. Stellar work!

  4. Yes, I had a similar reaction to Pearl' thoroughly lost in the poem, carried away by the tension, sexual and otherwise. Beautifully penned Marilyn - it evoked a place for me, a place I haven't been but feel I've visited now....