Reflections in a Lisbon street café

Matthew Harrison

Two Africans approach my table, pause,
And, smiling, offer me trinkets.

                                                        A breeze,
Hot, sudden, gusting out from Tagus’ shores
Like the spirit that fired her men to seize
Sao Jorge’s high citadel from the Moors
And launch an empire that outreached the seas;
Amassing wealth and slaves, ambition soars,
Erecting towers, domes, arches like these:
Fiery exhalation!

                                    No ships now sail;
The waiter gently waves the hawkers on;
No New World wonders, treasure-freighted hold,
No slavers’ bounty, no enthralling tale,
Aggression, conquest, plunder – all are gone
But in their place a gift worth more than gold.


Matthew Harrison lives in Hong Kong, and whether because of that or some other reason entirely his writing has veered from literary to science fiction and he is currently writing poetry. Matthew is married with two children but no pets as there is no space for these in Hong Kong.

     riverbabble 32 table of contents    |   Write to the Author   |  Go to the Archives