Three poems from 'Figure in a Landscape'. The first of these, 'Trunk of fig tree from Ses Rossells', has the following note from the author: "In this poem there is a reference to the heroine of a Russian fairytale called 'Vassilissa the Beautiful'."

From ‘Figure in a Landscape’ (5)

Trunk of fig tree from Ses Rossells

This tree is a grey-faced woman
who struggles to her feet, one arm
a broken branch hanging useless
The wild fire on the hill
you have escaped for now
but you are tinder-dry this summer
Terracing lies tumbled around you

Earlier we stood in the gloom of the cave
wondering why we had come
Inside, the usual debris
human excrement, tissues, rusting tins
a goat’s skeleton picked clean by ants
blackened stones of a makeshift hearth
To please our father, find his fabled cave
we had scrambled over boulders
cut ourselves on razor-grass
and now your arm is broken
Two daughters in their fifties
still trying to prove
they are as good as the sons he wanted

We should have followed the example of Vassilissa
borne the goat skull home
and let the darkness in its sockets
blaze our rage, burn down the house



Fig tree at Son Ramonet Gros

What is it you hear?
Poised on one foot
you’re about to convene
a residents’ meeting
clean the pool
walk the dog
cook for the parents, but
something just off to the left
tugs, and you lean
distracted by this sound
as by a strange
beat in the car’s engine
a thudding in the ears
Please do not listen
Pay it no heed
It is only the three o’clock wind
the wind in the cypresses you hear



Fig trees in front of Can Cabana

their green skirts making tents of shade
in a field of shimmering wheat. Surprised
among it like creatures of another life—
secret, mysterious, just glimpsed amid
the daily plainness of grain—the pulsing pink
of wild gladiolus and poppies’ blood-red
drinking deep of the fig trees’ shade

from Figure in a Landscape(Mariscat Press, 2010), ? Anna Crowe 2010, used by permission of the author

Anna Crowe in the Poetry Store

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