The Camargue in Early Spring

by

A gleaming necklet of brass cicadas circles the throat of Spring;
after the Feast of Sainte Sara they’ll start to sing.
Camargue houses with backs to the north, the buffeting force
of the brusque Mistral, catch undertones of siren notes
piped and droned through reeds of the Rhône.

Sainte Sara in her finery, in the cool penumbra of golden stone,
waits for tendrils of sun to warm the grotto
where she stands alone, smiling enigmatically in garlands,
gems, the votive charms bestowed on her by Roma
pilgrims, cleansed by rites of brine and foam.

Across the rippling estuary, flamingoes form a leggy corps
to forage the shallows patiently for the algae
that will dye them rose. Africa recedes from mind,
even when the Saharan wind ruffles their plumes like tutus,
and they seem unaware that as day declines they appear to stalk
the glistening air above the marsh like a rouged mirage.

 

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