Glory by the Shore (Sangre Azul)

The afternoon’s tropical island breeze is
Laced with salt and a host of aromas
From the bazaar that lines the beaches
That holds all the flavours and chromas

The breeze is rivalled only by the Sun
Which bears down all the way to
An unassuming hacienda, there’s but one
Cracks on its walls and rays shine through

These walls have seen the tides
They’ve seen winters most desolate
Highs and lows, widows and brides
And joys crescendoed at the gate

They have many stories to tell,
As I’m sure you’ve gathered
But one particular tale can well
Save them from these Spaniards

Red flowing robes and dazzling jewels
Adorn her quivering young form
As she walks through a lawn of fools
And the thunder threatens a storm

Walk through this velada aeons ago
An evening of great pomp and show
We’re not at our hacienda, no,
But near enough, a princess looks for a beau

The spires- high on the castle towers
And the Gothic arches from yore,
Products of war and clashes of powers,
Quietly witness the evening’s lore

A man approaches, or were
There two? Or three? All the same
Bragging to her, the Lord, Knight, Sir
They’re all playing the stature game

The princess is engaged and they’re chatting
Clinks of goblets held above bell sleeves
Her rubies glint, as bright as her satin
But brighter are her eyes, one perceives

Watching her is the gardener’s boy
Who’s spoken to her on occasion
A mere worker, far from a Viceroy
Never dreamt of nearing her station

Yet he’s spoken to her. And while
These men think themselves clever,
He knows the princess and her guile
He knows she’s so much better.

He’s tidied for tonight, as well, he has,
He’s serving the guests some tapas
He knew he’d have to match the pizzazz
He picked up how to cook gambas

Moving around the party presently
He stops every now and then
Punctuated by her laughs, pleasantly,
His evening feels just fine, when

His mind having plunged into their
Last conversation is now startled-
Avoiding a Lord by just a hair,
On a Lady, he spills a starter

A small furore that, quite luckily,
After profuse apology, soon dies
He brings his focus back swiftly,
He looks away from her eyes

The party is over soon enough.
Simoneta retires for the night
Lying in bed, sleep is rough
And dreams resound her plight.

Wars and bloodshed are on the shores
Decisions have to be made
A storm is coming just across the shores
And Fate cannot be swayed

Alliances are vital, every step counts.
Moves of chess were used to explain,
To her what the situation mounts;
The names of Generals were just too plain

What a difficult time Simoneta lived in,
Then again, history had a lot of those
And no one’s truly pious..or guilty as sin,
Just a protagonist in their own prose.

What’s right or wrong, she doesn’t know,
When she should make a call
Where she’ll take a stand, or go
Why she’s stuck here at all

For years and years now, the boredom
The ennui, of her inescapable life
And family, though she adored them
Had been a source of personal strife

Her heart was set, not on conquest
But on exploration of the unknown, known;
She cared not to protect the Crest
But to observe and solve on her own

And the curiosity that burned within her
Set aflame a constant companion
Melancholy that no one was akin her
Guilt armed with shame like a batallion

She didn’t mean to forsake her people
But Lord knows that’s what they thought
She would not stand by the steeple
But for such heresy she could be caught

With uneasy thoughts and revelations
Our princess finally drifts to sleep
Not foreseeing her future and reparations
Not knowing how much they’ll weep

Carlos retires as well but much later
Long after the guests drink the last drop
Weary but his thirst has never been greater
For life, and he isn’t the kind to stop

He pulls out his books and lights the lantern
He gazes at the book Simoneta lent,
The ribbing and the curl where the pages turn;
He longs to know what the words meant

And so he dives into his much simpler books
And he knows he’ll read till he’s spent
As some pass his corner, he gets the same looks
None can shake his lovesick intent

Love is simple when you’ve never
Loved before, never hurt before
It always feels like the easiest forever
And Carlos loves like that for sure

He loves his books, he loves the pride
He feels when he learns something new
He loves the chase and he knows inside
The princess loves all of it too

What a difficult time Carlos lived in,
Then again, history had a lot of those
The Inquisition was a time bathed in sin
And unfortunately the time this story chose

When it came, it bathed Spain
In the reds of the tomatoes they grew
Staining the papal white, a hideous stain
Of all the vile heretics they knew

Simoneta, now older and still unmarried
Is met with coldness and distrust
In the midst of it all she is most harried
By her people’s desire to be “just”

She would be found out and tried
This miserable life would end at that
Noone would quite be on her side
Nothing left here to wonder at

Watch as she flees at night
Climbing down the balcony then
Round the corner and down a flight
Of stairs, so close; when

She knocks over a lone lantern
In the dead of the night
Lifted faster than she can turn
As his face comes in the light

In a moment or two Carlos catches
His breath and knows what to say
In a minute or two Simoneta latches
Onto him as they rush through the grey

Not knowing where to go.
Not seeing what’s ahead
Just knowing what they know
Saying what needs to be said

In Simoneta’s book there was
A moment where the weary man
Stopped at a beach at night for pause
Together now, that’s where they ran

Panting and huffing she reaches
The waves as if to meet them, greet them
And Carlos asks nothing more of beaches
This moment is all he’ll beseech them

She turns around as the salty breeze
Ruffles through their hair
“Wait”, she says and watches him freeze
In the cold midnight air

Carlos has never felt doubt
More than he feels in this moment
A thousand things race about
In his head and fear they foment

“Simoneta, I know why you’re running.
And you know that I know, too.
We both know they’re still coming..
We may never come back to this view.

“Just stay with me here for now
Let’s pretend nothing else matters
We’ll make do for now somehow
I know how to work with tatters.

“I know you think you’re alone
And this world is no place for you
But though I’m far from the throne
I’m in your world, and I love you.”

They stand in silence, this cold won’t do,
This time won’t do; this place too
Simoneta is silent, gazing at dark blue
Much bluer is her sangre azul

Or the blue blood, that they’ve claimed
Is flowing through her veins:
A symbol of segregation that’s aimed
At holding her back in reins

Because you can’t tarnish the royal blue
By affairs with boys tending gardens
The blood would take a lowly hue
These dalliances don’t receive pardons

But being unpious, because of reason
Finding Cause instead of Faith
She’s an infidel to her religion
And they’re all dealt a similar fate

“I know, Carlos, I’ve always known
I've enjoyed myself in every walk
On those lush gardens you've shown
Me what it was like to love a talk.

"I admire your hunger,
I see truth in your eyes
But I'm not getting any younger
I can't live any more lies."

Simoneta looks away and squints
Tears in her eyes, a sick serenity
She sees a hut with endearing dints
In the dying light; an amenity

They retire there for the night
Wondering why it's left abandoned
They’re awaiting the morning light
With a watch for troops commanded

To bring her back at all costs
And maybe someone will miss Carlos
But come dawn, the fear exhausts
These young runaways and they doze

But no one comes.
It’s quiet outside.
The sky becomes
Dark grey and wide.

It rains, it pours,
They have to stay
Soaking walls and doors
Puddles in the way

When they leave, it’s in
Inconspicuous disguise
Where have the troops been?
Surely going back is unwise.

They decide to make it
A home more than a refuge
They decide they won’t quit
Just deterred by a deluge

They patch up the walls,
They fix the gate
So when night falls,
They’ll be in a better state

They keep the hearth warm
And the princess buys food
Before the next storm
Their abode is renewed

One day in the bazaar
Carlos weaves through
As he hears from afar
What the kingdom’s been upto

As he listens he despairs
He can’t bear to tell her
The horn, it blares
He will have to tell her.

The tides have turned, they’ve been deposed
The king is dead.
The storm has come, the case is closed
The rest have fled.

The peace inside their humble home
Oblivious to the fire outside
Rained in by indulgent guilt and hope
As around it, the kingdom died

When she learns, she rues,
A vile, bitter regret
A weight to carry, who’s
Not one to forget

What a terrible time they lived in,
But history surely has a lot of those
As they say, when the fire’s dim ,
Another little ember is always close

They were forgotten, they moved on,
Simoneta and Carlos
Their previous lives seemed bygone
And so were their sorrows

The hut is built into a small bungalow
Their little children play in the lawns
Where anthora and rock roses grow
And Carlos cooks his gambas, or prawns

The house stays there for generations
Of educated young women and men
It grows and changes through their creations
When they move it’s never lived in again

So that’s the story,
I have some more
To tell of the old glory
Of a little house on the shore

Please keep them from breaking
Down its creaky door
Or the cracked walls though they’re flaking
Of the little house on the shore.


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