Christopher Columbus

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Christopher Columbus

leaves foot prints,
wake to his imagined ships,
dark, in the snow,
the unusual snow,
the snow they haven’t seen
in Granada city centre
for forty years.

It settles on roofs,
forms dark ridges
where the sun catches it
and turns it into
wet, dripping snow.

The Alhambra:
a wonderland of stiff,
white starched buildings,
stands out against
the mountain’s mass.

We click our cameras
and say “Just like home!”

We don’t realize
we’re repeating history
for it snowed then,
as it snows now
and Columbus
walked these streets
like any Canadian tourist,

short of breath,
short of cash,
the seams of his boots
letting in the cold,
wet snow,
you know how it is
on Yonge Street,
Main Street,
any street,
any town
in Canada.

And then the miracle:
he’s walking away,
leaving it all behind,
when the messenger
catches up to him and says:

“The war’s over:
there’s money now.
She says ‘Go for it!’
The ships you want,
the dream, the world,
they’re all yours now.”

Christopher Columbus
fell on his back,
flapped his arms,
and created winged shapes:

white-sailed ships
sailing in the snow.

12 thoughts on “Christopher Columbus

  1. The Vikings in Vinland didn’t fare well at all in the New World, the sojourn in Greenland was longer but also ended in disaster (I am haunted by the fate of those Greenlanders, the worsening conditions, the recently arrived but more adaptable Inuit, the decline of ship building, the fading of Norwegian power). As to Columbus, well, a New Rome was to arise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of those pivotal moments in history. But if not Columbus, then another. To set in motion such sweeping and catastrophic changes for the world on the other side of the ocean. He couldn’t have known that, though. And we humans are a curious lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. We took our daughter, Grade 8, to Spain, “a land where there’s no snow in winter.” “Don’t be daft, Dad,” she said, “all countries have snow in winter.” It snowed the night of our arrival in Madrid and snowed in the centre of Granada when we got there for the first time in 40 years. “There,” my daughter said,”Snow: told you so.” The Alhambra was wonderful beneath the snow.

      Liked by 1 person

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