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Walking with Machado

Image: The River Duero below the hermitage of San Saturio in Soria

To Pilar

There they were,

A giggle of schoolgirls

In their last year, I suppose, before university,

Making their way up the steep hill to the castle

In Soria, the city where the poets lived.

And one with a book of poems in her pocket,

Machado it was, of course,

How could it be otherwise

So near the River Duero?

They walked quickly after lunch,

As young people can,

For only the old are slow.

There was just one hour to go

Before the classes of the afternoon began

In the tall, grey buildings down below.

So, by the castle ruins,

Halfway up the Sorian sky,

They stopped and opened the book,

And then,

They learned how life can be made so sad

By chance or by illness

Or just by the blindness

Of women and of men.