Rilke Returns to Ronda

Note: Rainer Maria Rilke’s first name was René, which means reborn.

He steps off the train, and smells Spain again.
Musk of cedar, olive, jasmine, apricot trees
greet the stranger that here is known again.

To breathe the wild and mountainous air,
where gods in shepherd-form straddle the gorge,
and commune with the spirits of stone again.

Sunlight glimmers like blood on lowered horns,
against packed orange sand, hooves mark a last stand,
where another stranger’s ashes will reform again.

A world at war with itself had sent him wandering
down the footpaths of Romans, Moors, and Christians.
He came to find within his soul a peace sworn again.

A lone pilgrim, he climbs the long trail to his room—
the cool, splendid wind whispers a line to him.
In this thrice-conquered city, he is reborn again.

Beatriz F. Fernandez is the author of Shining from a Different Firmament (Finishing Line Press, 2015) which she presented at the Miami Book Fair International last year. She has read her poetry on WLRN, South Florida’s NPR news station, was recently nominated for a Pushcart prize and won the grand prize in the 2nd Annual Writer’s Digest Poetry contest. Her work can
be found online in the Boston Literary Magazine, The Quarterday Review, When Women Waken, Words Dance and Verse Wisconsin, among others. For upcoming events and publications see