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October 11, 2012

After the heat of the Mediterranean (30°C in Rome), our homecoming last weekend was a shivery affair.  After our fortnight away, it felt strange returning to full autumn with fallen leaves everywhere, mist, and that distinctive smell of woodsmoke…

Life aboard the cruise ship was luxurious with a 3-course meal in a posh restaurant every night followed by the theatre, so it was something of a comedown having to cook and wash up and change the bed again!  But seeing our family was wonderful.  How could anything compare with a grandchild on each knee?  Our first cruise was a huge success, our best holiday ever, but Stella and I were glad to be home.

Of course we had tales to tell – travellers’ tales!  It was quite something, hopping from port to port, country to country, and the excursions were excellent.  Amongst my favourite places were the Prunelli Gorges in Corsica, Vejer de la Frontera in Andalusia, and Le Castellet in Provence, a feudal village perched on a cliff with panoramic views of the vineyards below and the Sante Baume massif.  The little squares and steep cobbled streets of Castellet were crowded with houses, art galleries, souvenir shops and so on, their stone walls covered in colourful wisteria and bougainvillea.  It was here that the classic French comedy film ‘La femme du boulanger’ (‘The Baker’s Wife’) was made in 1938 starring Raimu and directed by Marcel Pagnol.

At odd moments between table tennis and miniature golf during our first days at sea, I enjoyed penning a poem in my notebook, a poem comprising five linked haiku, each having 19 syllables (rather than the traditional 17) to better suit the narrative.  It was a fantasy romance inspired by, of all things, the yellow plastic warning cones on deck urging “CAUTION – WET FLOOR” in Spanish: “CUIDADO – PISO MOJADO”!  And here it is…




First night at sea,

Your poetry faint in the wash,

Your prose crystal in the spray.


Second night,

A storm in the Bay of Biscay,

Bows plunging, rock music pumping.


Guitars flash and you laugh

As I twirl you in a tipsy dance,

Your hair flying.


Crazy wind, crazy rain,

We slip and slide the wet deck,

Cling together and kiss.


Third night, sunset,

Warm in the golden waves,

Poetry, prose, your shy almond eyes…




Copyright © Paul Beech 2012


From → Poetry

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