The Cork Trees of the Alentejo

I take an obvious shortcut

through the cork oak

in scattered fields surrounding Evoramonte

and wind up along an abandoned railroad track

thinking of the last world war

when surely through this same landscape

not so far north of Northern Africa

and yet Europe, with olive groves

and cork stripped every ten years

for billions of bottles of wine

and the bulls wandering aimless

through the tall grasses before they are fire cut

of the deaths that must have occurred here

the Nazis set on conquering everything between

Rommel's exploits in the deserts and the continent

they already stripped of its useful history

and wondered how I would have felt then

out here, shortcutting through these fields

where anywhere there would have been

enemies, the end, the smaller world

of where one cannot hide

and the tracks run along now rusted and silent

and the station at Evoramonte cemented up

the wild oregano running up its sides

the bulls and sheep grazing aimlessly

through Europe, this Europe of another rewriting

of its trajectories, and where would I have been

had I been born before and not after

and been part of the destruction in some way

that dark center of gravity that none escape

that is the how of history but the why

never comes clear, and so we are left

with only the hints of what some say of some

for a time, before everything is again changed

and would this poem have been

or been more or less of its own cry

out of the fields where the bulls eat listlessly

and the hour of the dead trains comes somehow alive


words: George Moore, Lyon/Colorado (more, more & more)
image: Dorothee Lang, Germany (blueprint21)


another tree walk: to speak again (#12)


BluePrintReview - issue 21 - shortcuts / detours