I first visited the lovely little fishing village of Cadaqués, Spain, with my friends Patty and Judy. We loved the place, which at the time was the home of Salvador Dali. When I returned there a few years later with the man who would within the year become my husband, he was equally charmed and our expected one-night stay swelled into four. The only marring detail was the black ash that blanketed the town, blown in from the miles of cork trees that had been burned in a flash fire earlier that year. This ash covered a patio table table recently cleaned off within an hour. Nonetheless, it was a lovely unspoiled village and we enjoyed watching the fishing boats go out in the morning and return at night and bathing in the warm Mediterranean. When I saw the prompt “Scorched,” the image of those hills covered in blackened trees came immediately to mind. Unfortunately, I’m not at home right now so can’t publish an appropriate photo.
Cork trees grotesque in the Spanish sun,
scorched not by it, but one by one
caught by fire that stripped their skin
and then consumed that thing within
that forms the plug that seals our wine
and thus preserves fruits of the vine
for wintry nights–for tongue and lip
to savor every ruby sip.
Nature can be a surly thug
vandalizing nature’s plug
and thus we’re forced to man’s creation
to solve a vintner’s consternation.
These synthetics made of plastic
are neither natural nor elastic.
They do not breathe or swell or stain,
or decompose in sun or rain.
And yet when nature chose to burn
those hills of oak, it lost its turn.
What nature might choose to take from us,
will be replaced with little fuss
by hand of man who knows it all.
And thus began Adam’s first fall!
The prompt word today is “scorched.”