(Memories of a market scene in Tunisia)
Vegetables laid out in mosaic patterns on colourful stalls,
Like a myriad of the brightest jewels.
Stall-holders chatter, selling their wares in foreign tongue.
Exotic spices fill the air with pungent smells filling my nostrils.
The sun beats down relentlessly.
Excitement fills the market place, as holiday-makers pause to wonder,
To soak up the atmosphere of this new found culture.
The sound of many flip-flops clip-clopping along the walkways.
Shorts clad, tee-shirted people adding their own holiday colour to the hustle and bustle.
‘Let’s go down here!’
Behind the vibrant scene all is quiet.
The sun-baked earth is brown and dusty.
The stalls colourful life has come to an end.
Here live chickens packed into crates are waiting to be taken home to have their heads chopped off.
Horses, used to bring produce to market
Stand in full sun, with Belsen-like bodies,
Rib cages like musical instruments waiting to be played.
No grass to graze,
No water to drink
Before again being loaded for their staggering walk back home.
They wait, with clouded eyes and withered limbs,
Fear long passed, awaiting their fate.
I wish now I hadn’t taken the detour,
My lasting memory should be the bustling market place.
Instead, each time my mind returns to that country
I am filled with sorrow ….. and I wonder ……..
Why didn’t I do something instead of just walking away?