The Glasgow and South of Spain Olive Oil Company Ltd.


Whether you go to the rich mines
Dug beneath the rich bodegas
Of Rio Tinto
Or Seville, Cadiz, Jerez,
The leisurely speech of beyond the Tweed you will hear.
In one such place, beneath the Segura, I was.

In Spain, the Havana
Out on the veranda,
From Gib,
Is never unwelcome.
I figured cerveza
From oily Carmona,
His senses had played with and killed.
He wasn’t unwelcome
In the green place he was from.
So what was he doing in these hills?

“What’s your name?” he asked suddenly.
I told him.
“Mine’s Robert Morrison.”
“Scotch?”
“Yes please, it’ll set me at ease.”
“What?” I returned.
He laughed and replied:
“Glasgow. I’ve been in this blasted country for years. Got any baccy?”
“It’s in your cigar, pal”

He found it there and then he upturned:
“Buddy can you spare me a dime?
Such poverty as this is hurting my pride
And there’s nothing from here to the salmon-dry Clyde.”
Now,
I saw things moving to a certain end
When I refused— awkward and diffident
He writhed in the heat. A snake, not a friend.
He reached his decision, burning in the dark:
“We’ve got a new process for refining oil, you know. Properly treated, Spanish oil is every bit as good as Lucca. And we can sell it cheaper.”
Pretence was dropped. He’d made his decision.
He chose his words with a Scotch precision.
He seemed perfectly sober.

 

[Tom McDonald]

Image courtesy of Aike Jansen

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