The Curved Window
by Lynn White

Our Spanish room was simple,
a bit dusty, with two narrow beds,
a wash basin, a small table
and a shared toilet in the passage.
Normality in Spain back then.
But it was our first Spanish room
and we were happy!
The owner was nice,
“doux, comme le sucre”
as my friend told him.
But he spoke no French.

We shopped in the corner shop with
the curved window
which became our landmark
to find our way back home
through the labyrinth of small streets.
At night we explored them
enjoying the clubs and cafes and bars
and the company of lively people.
Then we found our window
and made our way home.

Home to a locked door that
no amount of banging or shouting
would cause to open.
A passerby showed us the system.
He clapped his hands loudly
and a man appeared with a big bunch of keys,
enough to fit the locks of several streets.
Normality when Franco reigned.
He let us in with a smile.
He was “doux, comme le sucre”
my friend told him,
but he didn’t understand.

Forty years later we found the street.
Our landmark, the curved shop window
showed us the way.
It was all still there, though only in facade,
waiting for reconstruction or demolition.
The facade of a memory that
is still there and remains
“doux, comme le sucre”
and we understand.

It’s all gone now.

PHOTO: Alleyway in Barcelona, Spain. Photo by Anemone123, used by permission.

Barcelona is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within city limits, its urban area extends to numerous neighboring municipalities within the Province of Barcelona and is home to around 4.8 million people, making it the fifth most populous urban area in the European Union. Barcelona is a major international tourist destination, with numerous recreational areas, one of the best beaches in the world, mild and warm climate, and historical monuments, including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

PHOTO: Barcelona, Spain, by Ken Cheung on Unsplash.

White1 searching for her landmark
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was inspired by my first visit to Spain in 1965. I went there recently to discover that the street no longer exists. However its absence revealed that the end buildings in some of the surviving streets also had a curved window…Our landmark for deeper explorations of the city was a huge sculptural “Phillips sign” which we could see from everywhere. In the late 60s someone pointed out that there were several of those as well…No wonder we got lost!!

PHOTO: The author in search of her past, looking for her curved window in Barcelona, Spain (2011).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy, and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud “War Poetry for Today” competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications, including Apogee, Firewords, Capsule Stories, Light Journal, and So It Goes. Find Lynn at lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and on Facebook.