Monday, February 19, 2024

A Postcard from Peru

In recent times, Peru has been increasingly featured in foreign news items, as government agencies have issued warnings advising increased caution when travelling there, owing to rising crime levels and general unrest. It is a great shame that it should be so. Peru is a beautiful country with a fascinating culture and history, as I discovered at first hand when I had the good fortune to tour there some eighteen years ago. At the time, I wrote a poem, trying to encapsulate the varied and astonishing geography, culture, and economy I witnessed. The result was 'A Postcard from Peru', published in my first collection of poetry, A Journey with Time (Lulu, 2008):

A Postcard from Peru

High above the Colca Mountain ranges,
beneath the cloudless, blue, Andean skies,
in a land little transformed by changes,
the sacred condor flies.

Beneath the snow-capped mountains hid by haze,
observed by villagers in clothes quite gay,
llamas, vicunas and alpacas graze
and haunting pan-pipes play.

O’er the waters of Lake Titicaca,
on floating islands of totora reed,
the Uros people chew leaves of coca
and fish to herons feed.

Braving earth tremors in Arequipa,
well-sustained by Pisco Sours,
English tourists haggle to buy cheaper:
the dollar here empowers.

Via the catacombs of San Francisco,
a shaman of the Island of the Sun,
through cactus-strewn plains of the Altiplano,
travellers’ days are done.

Behold the Ice Maiden, Juanita;
the Garden of Lovers in Lima Bay;
the Orient Express is a feature:
rolling on – no delay.

The towering walls of Machu Picchu
instil with awe, inspire, expand the mind.
Support the local trade, we beseech you:
‘Just one sol – that’s most kind!’

From the ancient tombs of Sillustani,
down the pre-Inca terraced, rocky slopes,
to borders protected by the army,
Peru portrays its hopes.

© Copyright 2006 Robert M Jaggs-Fowler

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