Matthew Stewart – From Farnham to Villalejo

From Farnham to Villalejo


Turning circles in cul-de-sacs
are traps unless you know the town.
How many summers did I take
to map the paths that skulk
behind a fence or privet hedge?

I’m driving back past my old school,
past kids who droop their own way home.
Branches still beckon, the shadows
reminders of my teenage plan
to shake off this place forever.


This is the only place I could live now.
It’s lent me routines and even the hint
of a shared past. Aprils come with garlic,
Junes with peas. Shutters screech at dawn and dusk,
the clock tower dividing our days.

I wake and work and sleep to the perfume
of scorched pollen, crushed olives and mopeds.
As my mother-in-law summarises
another neighbour’s life, both of us grin.
For a moment I almost belong.

Matthew Stewart works in the Spanish wine trade and lives between Extremadura and West Sussex. He has published two pamphlets with HappenStance Press, both of which have sold out. He blogs at