The Duero at Soria (For Roberta)

(I wrote this after my wife Roberta and I visited Soria, a small city in central Spain, recently. It was the home of Antonio Machado, my favorite poet, and his wife Leonor. Statues of Antonio and Leonor and copies of his poetry are displayed prominently around Soria.)

By the caves of San Satorio
We hold hands and gaze at the quiet rush of the Duero
As once did Leonor Machado and her husband Antonio,
The poet of the two Spains – upstream and down in time –
Through this same place where hermit monks of old
Contemplated the flow that ever is here and now
And drew close to the subtle power moving the silent river
Imperceptibly carving the hill of Soria, steep and stark.
In his poetry, Machado tasted the honey of a land without flowers.
Did the hermits get drunk with the water from this river?
Roberta, let me be the brush with which you stroke
The curves of the Duero from source to sea.

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