A Letter From Donostia


A Letter From Donostia

A Poem



Someone weeps alone in the dark.

That’s how morning broke at camp:

Vince or one of the other boys

Announcing fully in tears

The advent of the worst pox

Adam willed us at age Ten –

To be motherless and far from home.


When we first met

The mountains in Summer,

The sight of the lone thunderhead

Through a dew-stained window

Lingering to scatter the thinning mist or –

The crescendo of bird-song

As the forest warms up to the day

Bound us to our cots;

Bid us to rise as men;

Said men weep at beauty –

Not in fear.


¡Palomo! War horse.

I thought of you often on camp-nights.

In my tearless dreams

I wore brass spurs

And decked you in regalia.

Destiny promised I’d ride

A general’s steed.


Mamá said I would

Because all the generals she’d seen

Painted in Prado

Had green eyes like mine.


Mamá, with her regimental disposition,

Who read me many stories

When Manolo was still alive –

Stories of valor and medals,

White horses and

Bright sabers unrusted

And unused.


In my twentieth year

I’ve come to learn

Loving mothers

Make partial judges.


This Summer is spent

In a trench dug deep and

Filled thick with motherless boys

Who play bridge under oil lamps and

Wish for more bird-song –

Less rain.

Here a few hours are lent to me while

Ordnance rumbles a sleepless night away and

Someone weeps alone in the dark.



Jose Espinel ’20 (espinel@college.harvard.edu) writes poetry for the Indy.