Souvenir d’une Tempête, Confolens

The barn owls lost their home tonight.
The tree crashed on the stable’s roof
and knocked its tiles into the night.
The horseshoe from the champion’s hoof
fell from the stone wall it has graced
two hundred years and disappeared
in hay the falling tree displaced.
Like flapping bats, though smaller-eared,
the barn owls flew, but one was grazed
by a cedar branch that broke its wing.
Its mother circled back, full crazed
by winds, but could not do a thing.
The wounded owl chick rallied twice
then died, relieving many mice.

Red Horse Dancing

The red horse dances hours in the sun
rehearsing two steps left, a bow, a stretch.
Three wading birds make no tracks as they walk
across dried mud. It’s hot in the Camargue.
I take the heat and watch the dancing horse.
The horse nor I will try to ford the mud.

There’s no one here, forever, in this heat.

Flamingos wade the water, browsing gunk,
and muskrats gnaw the cane grass. I am home.
‘The Black Book’ — Durrell’s premier published work —
lies where I dropped it, Tarquin’s tortured ‘lorve’
no match for red-horse dancing. Egrets fly
around flamingos, muskrats, horse and me.

I think how Durrell’s ‘Quinx’ taught me the tales
that brought me to this flat and open space:
gypsies in Les Saintes Maries de la Mer.
That town’s now filled with tourists, but out here
the red horse dances. Alan has come home.

I saw this horse, free and loose (across the mud flat of the Mudflat Bat), dancing by himself for at least an hour. I’m couldn’t really stay there forever, although I was tempted. I don’t think you can be home in any one place when you are an Earth Tourist.