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