Córdoba. A poem by Derek Coyle

When this is all over
we’ll go and see the Great Mosque
of Córdoba, its two-tiered arches
recalling palm fronds for a homesick Amir.
One can dream of Syria in Spain,
the way I dream of Spain
in virus locked-down Carlow.
Confined to my kitchen, this house and garden,
I daydream paella, saffron and chorizo,
and open-terraced cafes along the Guadalquivir.

In that white cloud there, over the Barrow,
I see the walls and columns, a horseshoe arch,
of mosque, and bathhouse, a library.
I see silks and intricate jewellery.
I can walk through the Roman aqueduct at Mérida,
and over its bridge of sixty arches, the river
as calm as the Barrow this Spring.
I can almost taste the olive oil and wine.

When this is all over,
we’ll go there and see Seville, Málaga, and Cádiz.
Your mother still alive, and mine,
the world grown quiet, on its way to vaccines,
and no more hurried talk of PPE, ventilators, and quarantine,
the cocooning of the old, this national shut-down,
where the death toll rises daily, this Satanic lottery.



Derek Coyle has published poems in Sweden, Wales, Ireland, Mexico and the U.S. He published his first collection in April 2019, ‘Reading John Ashbery in Costa Coffee, Carlow’. This collection was shortlisted for Shine Strong 2020, an annual Irish poetry award for a best first collection.

1 Comment

  1. Those words can paint a thousand pictures .

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