Brutal Summer

Summer blew into the village today

Filling stark streets with glistening liquid gold

Smothering white lime washed walls on its way

through valleys where potent black beasts once strolled.

Revered as God’s powerful and strong, now

imposing on landscape with huge sherry

hoardings, a national symbol for lifelong

torture and dignified brutality

 

Fiestas inflict pain and cruelty

Whilst brave revellers throng through Pamplona streets

to run with the bulls and emerge bloody

but triumphant like Olympic athletes.

Rhythmic flamenco plays, though sad bellows

hauntingly linger, deathly clarions

echo across the scattered torsos

of mutilated young cloven hoof sons

 

Magenta coloured capes cloak satin suit

of light, burnished with sequins, silver and gold

Red like bright rioja sent to pollute

cactus sharp sandy arenas of old.

Matador treads firm on graceful tip-toes

facing sharp horns in a deathly ballet.

Plunging sword delivers last fatal blow

as frenzied crowd roars for ferocious replay

 

Protests float by on an apathetic

breeze, fuelled by Lorca’s ardent poems and

seduced with inexorable magic

of Greek Minotaur myth from foreign land.

Beasts like gladiators who boldly fought

for life, celebrities feared and adored,

burdened with tales of heroic sport

now smooth, short tufted hair bloodied and gored

 

Suckling calves wrenched from cow’s milky breast

low like children when banned from the bullring,

heavy with an atmosphere of conquest,

condensed with slow sun-baked corpses frying.

Winter halts sacrificial bloodletting

until hot summer rushes through again

in harsh hailstorms of cruel bull baiting,

the traditional sport for brutal men

 

 

Joanna Wyndham Ward

 

 

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