As I was walking by the ancient walls of the city of Cordoba, first built by the Roman founders of the city, around the second century, and later reinforced by subsequent conquerors from central Europe, the Visigoths, later Muslims from North Africa, and finally the Spanish Monarchs from the north of the country, I was wondering about our need to conquer and feel safe from subsequent conquerors.
We have been building walls around our houses and cities for centuries and and now, two thousand years on, we still need to feel safe. Now the enemy is a virus, not an army, but we still retreat back within our walls, because the safety we perceive in the prison of our own making, is more important than the happiness we give up by not venturing outside. Home sweet home. ****
National Poetry Writing Month is a poetry writing challenge to write a poem a day, which takes place every year in April. Follow the link to find out more, be inspired, get daily prompts and meet other poets!
Day 13, poem, Sturdy Pillars was inspired by pictures I took yesterday of the Roman Arch of Triumph in Cordoba, Spain.
Sturdy pillars rise,
Pierce sky, reaching for heaven.
Necks crane up in awe
To Roman Arch of Triumph,
Proud reminder, ‘We lived here.
Buildings inspire me, especially ancient ones which remind me of our collective past. Poetry inspired by these monuments is a tribute to the architects, designers, builders, workers, who built these magnificent constructions, which we are fortunate enough to visit, preserve and share as part of our cultural heritage.
You can find this stone statue of a pre-Roman, Iberian warrior, at the end of the Sardinero Beach in Santander, Spain, standing by the Hotel Chiqui, where I recently stayed with my mother, who was born in Cantabria.
The monument is right behind my head in this picture!
A tiny little bit of history: According to legend, Tubal, who appears in Genesis, travelled west towards what is Spain today and settled there, giving it its present geographic and historic name, Iberia.
The Iberians were said to have merged with the Celts, who were the previous inhabitants of the region, leading to Celtiberian tribes, who fought fiercely against the Roman invasions during the first century BC.
This monument might be based on a first century warrior called Corocotta.
According to Roman accounts, a large reward was offered for his capture, and Corocotta himself came forward to claim it! Augustus was so impressed that he reportedly gave him the money and allowed him to leave s a free man.
The plaque at the foot of the monument, attributed to Horace, reads something like ‘The people of Cantabria cannot be chained’.