Euskal Herria (Basque Country)
“Do tread on me,” says the land;
“once you do, I own you,
The rugged, rough terrain,
filled with g’s, and k’s,
the tx’s and z’s;
names strung out like tracers shot across the night sky;
the squat fat houses, low-slung
among the green and gray,
the stones and showers of the land.
Was it always thus?
We do not know,
no more than we do
the origins, the first-speakers
of this orphaned tongue, who came
The far-flung outposts
are also home and land to them—
the scarps and scrapes of
the forgone West:
chasers of fortune
down deep ravines,
reversing up impossible climbs.
Gernika is known, but not for its self:
for the picture Picasso
hung in every mind.
The horror, the dis-lo-ca-ted hor-ror,
stands for every place.
But that has not stopped us
From coming back again and again—
John F. Larner graduated from Bucknell with a BA in English in ’73 and an MA in English in ’78. He also earned a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon and has been a teacher and administrator in international schools in England, France, the US, and Spain since 1980. He currently resides in Getxo, outside Bilbao, in the Basque Country.