Before the grotesque blocks of flats
docked at their reclaimed berths,
mocking the banlieu with their eager,
selfing, cargo of the briefly curious.
Before Starbucks, retail, le petit train
and authentic seafood restaurants.
Before the glass and steel of le Musee
de Civilisations de l'Europe...
and other ground-breaking initiatives.
Before the sea's romance was packed
into steel boxes and express-loaded
onto bigger, uglier, IT'd boxes on time.
Before the football club was taken, unseen
and repackaged by far-off TV executives.
The old port, before it was old, emerged
mysteriosly from the sooty fog each morning.
Every looming bow and deck derrick clearing
amid a thousand deep tobacco'd conversations.
Every tug and pilot cutter phutting and spluttering
through the water to push and guide the steamers.
Every tonne of cargo circulating in the smoke. Little
pieces of the imagined world, shared accross France.
And Notre Dame de la Garde, cleaned and polished now,
new then, watching the change from her hill, aloof.
Ronnie Smith was born and grew up in the west of Scotland where he eventually discovered that people didn't laugh at his efforts at writing short stories. He contributed fiction and commentary to a number of magazines and got involved in editing. In his day job Ronnie worked in international education administration, allowing him to travel widely at various companies' expense, and lived in Romania for eight years before moving to south west France. In truth, Ronnie has become somewhat rootless but he considers this to be a good thing as it relieves him of the usual tribal duties associated with modern nationalism. These days, Ronnie teaches History at a French High School, contributes to the weekly Scottish Review and writes whatever comes into his head at any given time. There will be a novel at some point...
The Ekphrastic Review
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