We Came with the Rain

Triacastela, province of Lugo, Spain

We came with the rain
down from the hills where nobody came
to the market-day crowd in the village, quick openings of umbrellas,
wet faces calling over the street,
crowding into bar entrances, doorways,
the whole place jangling with the people and the storm.

Inside the bar, all tables occupied, they talked.
But talked says nothing of
that leaning into each other with hope,
lavish in utterance, equal in response.
We shouted for our drinks
and watched the room fill with the sound

and then we left.
We were fast-moving people in a place
where value is retained
who had a programme of our own construction for the day
who let our own inertia override,
which I regret.

The afternoon has left, indelible in memory,
those faces, laughing, rained on,
exalted in communion; and then an eagle, up the road an hour,
back among high hills and in sunlight,
who, startled in his steady occupation of the air,
moved up a gear, and up, and out of sight.

Listen to this poem — read by Peter Hetherington