What the child in us wishes all winter
for comes late. We wake to a whitewash:
caked roads and drives, meringued gardens;
surprise even to robins’ eyes.
First-to-work finch notes and what might
be heartbeats of nearby oaks as our
window eyes count time; watch innocence
lost to commuter shoe and tyre grooves.
A quorum of hard-faced corvids hector
from nearby roofs as afternoon fingers steal
back light, clocked by bluebells, snowdrops
and dwarf narcissi – first eyes of spring.
That first taste of sea-brined Atlantic,
air that once carried fado cries
from Alfama. Saudade – hearts
that waited, ached for Tagus tide
to roll home below a millefeuille
of sea-facing structures.
I find Café Martinho da Arcada,
hear Pessoa’s words on walls still
painted in nicotine and espresso.
Outside, a number 28 tram grates
and whines to a halt. A wagtail bobs
by full of knowing.
Steep streets of Bairro Alto bathe
in magnolia blossom, eyes open
to pink light of spring.
Paul Waring is a retired clinical psychologist from Wirral, UK who once designed menswear and sang in Liverpool bands. His poems have been widely published in print journals, anthologies and webzines. He was runner-up in the 2019 Yaffle Prize and commended in the 2019 Welshpool Poetry Competition. His debut pamphlet ‘Quotidian’ is published by Yaffle Press.