Autumn in the Gredos Mountains


Autumn in the Gredos Mountains.



In the Gredos mountains

early sun fights through the mists,

              making poplar trees shine

              like golden exclamation marks

              against the coppery bracken. 

My boots tread silently

cushioned by springy moss.

An insistent breeze flicks the willow leaves

exposing ripples of silver, a shade darker

than the brilliant waterfall

and the sparkling cobwebs.


A signal-red patch on the rock face

a silent warning bell:

             Is that an abandoned rucksack,

or even a body?


No, binoculars reveal

a triumphant bush,

leaves aflame,

roots in a narrow crack,

competing for life with moss

the colour of corrosion.


So relax, follow the pale limestone track

towards the plains around the Rio Tajo

where cattle graze the cork trees from below

creating mounds of uniform canopies

floating on twisted charcoal stems,

like the cumulus clouds float

on the opal sky spanning

an electric blue river.

Below the slow-moving surface

emerald tendrils caress rocks

worn smooth by their journeys.



                     Marianne Whiting









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