Black umbrellas burgeon beneath sudden rain.
Waterproof cloth opens to provide protection.
Churches fill with defenseless passersby.
The cigarettes they smoke flare shooting
stars through finger bars of flesh and bone.
After the rain, gypsy women flower in the street.
Carnations carve wounds in their sleek, oiled hair.
They offer good luck charms and fortune telling.
“Federico! Federico,” the gypsies cry out,
“tomorrow, the guards will take you from your cell.
They will drive you to the hills and shoot you dead.”
“Tonight,” Federico replies, “I’ll paint the city red.
And tomorrow… ” “Tomorrow,” the gypsies sigh,
“the Alhambra’s walls will run red with your blood.”
Comment: I have made some minor changes to the sonnet that was published in Iberian Interludes (available online at this link) The sonnet is a Golden Oldie, going back to our visit to Granada in 1986. I asked my pre-teenage daughter if she would like to go to a country where there was no snow in winter. She laughed at me. “Don’t be so silly, dad, there’s no such thing as a winter without snow.” We got to Madrid on January 5 and awoke to 3 inches of snow on January 6. “There, dad,” she said. “Told you so.” We took the train down to Granada and that year they had six inches of snow in the city center, for the first time in forty years! It also rained, and this is a poem about the Granada rain.