The Last Villagers

The village is just off the road from Almazán to Monteagudo in the province of Soria, northern Spain.

No, no we are not sad. Why should we be?

 

Not sad but we think back to happier times

When there were thirty families here.

Our noisy brood have all left now.

Gone to Madrid and Barcelona to work,

Even to France and to England,

So far away.

They have their own battles to fight,

Rushing with  the children to school in the morning

And searching for a place to park at night

When they come home from work.

And here we can fit in a hundred cars or more

For the square is always empty now

And the space unnecessary.

 

The village has been good to us.

I remember

All the sheep we have raised here

Over the years,

In those fields over there.

All the cows that we have milked

Here in this little shed.

 

The roof of the church lost two tiles

In the storms last autumn.

I’m too old to clamber up to put them back.

When one tile goes,

The wind searches for the gap like the tongue

Goes relentlessly to the hole in a tooth.

Then it lifts another and another

And then two more,

And soon the roof is bare.

 

I put a bucket there

In the aisle, you know,

To catch the worst of the leak.

 

My wife took a mop

To the pool of water on the floor.

We have the key, you see.

The last priest handed it to me,

And I do my best to see

The place is well looked after.

 

We have no bus.

We have no train.

And the few cars that come

Are never parked with care.

Here we have no painted lines.

The cars are just left here and there.

We have space for them everywhere.

 

And since you ask me, I can say

That for many a year and many a day,

We have done our best.

We have kept going,

And here we’ll stay.