Wendy Klein – Two Poems


There’s clucking from the kitchen,
the clatter of pots, plates, cutlery
and from across the ravine

a Greek cock is crowing, lewd
and proud. It was like this
on Santorini: donkeys

meek under their burdens,
their wicker panniers bulging
with seasonal bounty:

tomatoes of redness undreamed of,
unsung; shrivelled black olives
their salty pucker,

and you boarding the last ferry
to Piraeus, pretending you’d call
when you got back to Blighty.

Did I forget your last words,
or were they drowned out
by the clanking of chains

as the tailgates shut? Or maybe
you were just roaring with relief
at your lucky escape.


That first Tuscany, so long ago it’s only dust and donkeys:
steep cobbled hills, the children running for bread each morning –

straight from a brick oven – too hot to touch; the bells
from the village church above the modest graveyard

where I’d breathe in honeysuckle, warm from the bees’ plundering
as I walked up the steps to our summer cottage, dizzy

with jasmine, the path lit by the sparks of fireflies. Nights I swear
I could hear sweet chestnuts ripening, and from our bed,

the village boys serenading our au pair, a plain girl with a Southern drawl
who began to glow to Santa Lucia crooned under her window

from a ring of cigarettes on the path below; was transformed
overnight; walked out next morning sung into beauty.


U.S.-born Wendy Klein has lived in the UK most of her adult life.  Published in many magazines and anthologies, she has two collections from Cinnamon Press, ‘Cuba in the Blood’ (2009), ‘Anything in Turquoise’ (20013), and a third, ‘Mood Indigo’ just out from Oversteps Books. Her website is at www.wendyklein.co.uk

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