The Orange Trees of Altea – Marion McCready

The Orange Trees of Altea

A row of orange trees, five of them, five gifts
unwrapped and standing in all their glory
like a guard of watchmen.
The orange trees release their scent
as I walk under them. They welcome me
at regular intervals. Wrinkled and overripe,
the oranges are veterans of the night.
The winds roll in from the Mediterranean.
The oranges do not live in glass bowls
on Welsh dressers – heirlooms from the dead –
but instead float through a sky of Spanish blue;
the blue distilled into a topaz on my finger.
The orange trees are a dream of five treasure chests.
I want to pluck them out of the ground, cup
the orange heart of them close to me.
The orange trees of Altea rain their blossoms
down on me singing of the Levante.
On a hot night, the Mediterranean floats over
steep hills and rests on me. This beach,
on this Costa Blanca coast, bears soft pebbles
slipping down to the sea, caught in a white wrath
of waves. I finger two pebbles in my pocket,
perfectly round, warm stones and there is nothing left
but the sea, dark sky, the ice mountains of Sierra Helada
and me. And a dream of five orange trees.

 

Marion McCready lives in Dunoon, Argyll. She has won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award and the Melita Hume Poetry Prize. She is the author of two poetry collections – Tree Language (Eyewear Publishing, 2014) and Madame Ecosse (2017).