Poetry

Leon Trainor: Valparaíso

Valparaíso for Thomas J. Lawlor, 1882–1960                                                                               Valparaíso, tattered town; tattooed too: graffiti adorn every flank of your twisted streets; a gaudy, multicoloured beast clinging to vertiginous slopes you make us giddy looking up or down. It wasn’t civic pride got you UNESCO-certified; the city fathers saw a niche: faded, nineteenth-century kitsch that almost everybody loves; so, while your galvanised-iron roofs rattle in the storms of time, improved the service industries (replaced brothels with B&Bs), let the tourists flood in. Sublime! It wasn’t always so. Prime port of its hemisphere, the town throve while clippers slipped around the Horn in droves…

Subscribe to get access to all online articles