Friday, August 27, 2010

Camargue Fragments

I The Journey South From Arles

Where the fresh waters of the Rhone open
to subsume the land -
where the middle sea spills over lips of sand.

There where a triangle of earth
becomes wafer thin.
We drive passed villages
orchards and vineyards.

Vertical lines shorten.
Farm houses and barns squat
among sunken rice fields
framed by reed beds and bamboo.

And the fertile greens surrender
to brown stalks
and stunted trees.

Horizons flatten under advancing sky.

The road drives us on
relentlessly into heat
passed white salt pans
and mud flats.

Land shrivels to black and white.
In the distance
the scattered black knots of bulls.
And white horses
gather at the edge of fields
like cotton grass
braced against the mistral.

And still further out
beyond where the soft vague boundaries
of mud flats and salt marsh merge.
Sand dunes rise into the salt air -
and the open arms of the river
dissolves into the sea.

© David Loffman

August 2010

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