The Golden Goat Hotel balances four posh hooves
on the crest of a rock over the Côte D’Azur. He can even
point out Bono’s house below near the ochre shore.
This hircine vista placed the pearl of a song
on my boy’s tongue every morning for a fortnight
when he was six. He’d throw back early morning
curtains, his little mollusc mouth wide open to serenade
the blue and green horizon—Oh the Med, Oh the Med,
Oh the Mediterranean Sea!—as if it didn’t know its own name.
Shunning the Menu Enfant for a plate of naked vegetables
he’d spend five minutes marvelling over a pea tendril
snaked around his finger as if he were David Attenborough
in a rainforest handling an anaconda; or rearranging
an edible canvas of nasturtium, viola and calendula petals
like Van Gogh considering a field of sunflowers.
Futur gourmet the waiter called him and not the fussy
eater they whispered about at children’s birthday parties
when he refused cake, fizzy drinks and chips.
Today I watched his twelve year old self deliberate lemon
juice versus tobacco on an oyster and savour peppery rocket
and pungent pecorino on a pink forkful of beef carpaccio.
Do you remember La Chèvre D’Or? He’ll often ask, curling
each ‘r’ handsomely a la française, as if polishing that pearl
patiently awaiting his return.
(First published in Skylight 47)