Where almond blossoms fall
The wind swirls leaves around my garden gate
like some celestial laundry machine
and tumbles rooks from my neighbour’s roof
as they squabble in the bubbling air.
An angry squall stumbles by and paints my face
with waspish raindrops. They spit and sting
as if the north wind wants to bite
the succulent flesh of my red-raw cheeks.
Blown south, my shivering thoughts fly to
a warmer Spain and a pilgrimage made years ago
when, mothered by green, Galician hills
Santiago called us to a field of stars.
Each night we slept on tapestries of cream and pink
and zephyrs whispered to us in the orchard groves.
The cold wind thrills me now, as I recall
a distant spring spent where almond blossoms fall.
Santiago de Compostela (or Saint James of Compostella in English) is the capital of the autonomous community of Galicia, in northwestern Spain. The city has its origin in the shrine of Saint James the Great, now the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, as the destination of the Way of St. James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route since the 9th century.
Santiago is the local Galician evolution of Vulgar Latin Sanctus Iacobus "Saint James". According to legend, Compostela derives from the Latin Campus Stellae (i.e., "field of the star"); it seems unlikely, however, that this phrase could have yielded the modern Compostela under normal evolution from Latin to Medieval Galician.