I See You; The Animal Gaze for EarthWeal and the Nature of Poetry in Spanish and English.

Owl for Ruth’s exhibition

I see you on my terrace;

You see me see you.

Your eyes hold onto mine.

You move through the trees of my life,

You hide within the fallen leaves

Of my dreams.

I was not expecting you

To arrive so close to me,

To fix your eyes on mine.

Then fade away so soon

Into the lighter lines

And shadows,

An imprint

On my being.



La Vida En La Huerta

Te veo en mi terrazzo

Me observas

Me sostienes la mirada

Te mueves entre los árboles

De mi vida

Oculto entre las hojas caidas

De mi sueños.

No esperé

Que llegaras tan cerca

Que fijaras tu mirada en la mia

Y que desvanecerias en un instante

Entre la Luz

Y las sombras

Dejando una huella

Sobre mi ser.

I am writing this poem in response to Earthweal’s post about the ‘gaze of wild animals’ .


Apologies for combining this with Dverse’s open link night but in reference to their post on the Spanish Poetry form Seguidilla this fits my style of writing this poem and just happens to combine with Earthweal’s theme of ‘The Animal Gaze. There is also a really inspiring Rilke poem about this theme in the post and as always inspiring links to poets and poems on Dverse.

The Seguidilla form is found onDverse for 11th March and this is for Open Link Night. https://dversepoets.com/

I first wrote this poem for my friend’s art exhibition in our local village in the Sierra Aracena. When I wrote it I wanted the nature of the poem to be easy to read and in a certain Spanish style with short line lengths. I also wanted it to honour the wonderful and expressive art of my friend Ruth Koenigsberger. I have featured a lot of her art in previous poetry posts like the Blackbird Singing at the Start of Spring.

Ruth was trying to capture the wild animals in her wonderful garden and orchard. The exhibition was titled ‘La Vida en La Huerta’ The Life of the Orchard. Huerta is a combination of vegetable garden, orchard, some fields that many people living in a village would own as a smallish plot and mostly organic and wildlife friendly except for the need to keep the ploughing boar out.

I once looked into the eyes of a wild mother boar. I was behind my ‘boar proof fence’ in my huerta. I later read that boar are quite short sighted. That might have been why she stared for so long but finally ran off gathering up her stripey young ones. I stood very still and did hope that the fence would be strong enough but she wasn’t trapped and could easily run off as is the main thing I find most wild animals do.

I think Earthweal’s post so important. There is so much ‘knowing’ in the look of so many wild animals. And I love the idea of the whales looking deep within us. I have seen whales too in the Azores but they have not seen me or they have but certainly did not meet me eye to eye. That must be so special.

Another friend translated the poem into Spanish and tried to make it sound ‘poetic’ in the flow of the Spanish language. I am delighted to learn from Dverse about the Spanish form Seguidilla and somehow wonder at my attempt then was possibly based on reading Spanish poems in this sort of form. My poem is of course not a Seguidilla but free verse in what I hoped was a Spanish style. I was very heartened by many comments from local people on how much they identified with the poem. We all talked about the animals that had looked into our eyes and for many it was the array of lizards, geckos, salamanders but also birds too.

Fire Salamander
Ocellated lizard

Spoonbill looking down at me from one of my trips with Ruth to Donana Wetlands.