Barcelona in my Dreams

Come walk with me along the streets
of Barcelona in my dreams
one rainy April day when I arrived
beneath the Fabergé-egg domes
of the Museu del Toro;
between the gridiron blocks of Eixample
with Gaudi’s masterpiece
crowning the distance, come
and lose yourself among these streets
with me.

Take hands with me and walk along the beach
of Barcelona in my dreams
the strand of manmade sand
where I washed up
an alien
upon the shores of the Mediterranean:
bewildered almost-tourist
struggling to decipher
packets of cereal
and washing powder.

Let’s sail around the port with Las Golondrinas
but not venture out
into the open water
dreaming of Las Islas Baleares:
Menorca, Ibiza, Mallorca
away from party-goers,
hid away from Las Ramblas
in secret streets
where revolution played out
heralding the Civil War.

Seek sanctuary within the walls
of old
Santa Maria del Mar
her gothic splendour laid bare by
the fires of Anarchists;
see Gaudi’s dreams in her high arches’ spanned then
pause and say a prayer
and light a candle in remembrance
of
our sacred hour.

In the Parc de la Ciutadella let us walk
under the palms
where once the loathèd citadel stood tall
imposing rules
of the outsider
on a population chained
yet free in mind
to dream new dreams, Art-deco forms and frescoes
dreams to come
and dreams which I must leave behind.

In Barceloneta let’s enjoy catch-of-the-day
in La Cova Fumada
brought to shore
this very morning by
brave fishermen who waded through
the piss and puke of tourists
to sell their wares
while visitors
slept off their hangovers
behind dim darkened doors

Walk hand in hand with me
along the broad streets of
Passeig de Gracia:
La Manzana de la Discordia;
Casa Batlló – The House of Bones
which sleeps beneath a serpent’s skin
or La Pedrera where
we play chess on the rooftops
for each other’s souls and
wonder who will win?

The heavenly jury still in recess
holds out on this point
gods toy with us
we wander shipwrecked shores
and yet I know
there is a fair wind and
a wave to lead me back
Adéu, Adijo, Adiós:
one universal language we all speak.

© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

This is my love letter to Barcelona

It’s a bit of a big and baggy monster, so please take it as a work in progress. I’m not used to writing long-form poetry, and this needs some tidying up. Nevertheless, it’s good to get some of these images out of my head and into writing. I am posting for dVerse, where Grace is hosting and has asked us to write about setting:

The writing challenge: Bring us to a time and place in your poem. Give us the smells, sights and sounds of your setting. Note that settings can be real or fictional, or a combination of both real and fictional elements.

We came to Barcelona in April of 2016, and we left in February of 2019. I’ve never been back since and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over it. The city gets under your skin. Ironically, when I came to Barcelona, I found myself missing London. I’m definitely over London now (though I’d still like to visit) but Barcelona, I don’t think I ever will be…

68 thoughts on “Barcelona in my Dreams

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  1. I’ve only visited Barcelona once but you make it sound like a city worth revisiting. I know they have terrible tourist problems and have been one of the first to limit the numbers rambling aimlessly through the Ramblas. I hope they stick to it!

    1. To be honest I hate Las Ramblas – there are so many better places to see off the tourist trail. The problem is with the tourists who have no respect and just treat the place like an alcoholic playground.

      1. There are Ramblas in every European city, I think, the part that tourists ‘have’ to see, eat in, buy some junk in. Ruins the place for anyone wanting to actually live there.

  2. Wow, all I can say is wow! This is so beautiful and vivid as if I really stepped into your dream. I could feel each description of the city, and I can imagine it had to be quite the experience. I adored these lines:

    “The House of Bones
    which sleeps beneath a serpent’s skin
    or La Pedrera where
    we play chess on the rooftops
    for each other’s souls and
    wonder who will win?”

    So gothic, so cryptic. I like that dark humor there! 😀 It’s creative imagery, I can’t help but re-read those lines and find myself in a haze; the figurative imagery and how it builds, it’s very mesmerizing.

    “It’s a bit of a big and baggy monster, so please take it as a work in progress. I’m not used to writing long-form poetry, and this needs some tidying up.”

    Well, Ingrid, I hate to break it to you but this is not a big and baggy monster. This, in my opinion, is an excellent piece of poetry. It gave me lot’s of T.S. Eliot vibes. If a WIP, I really can’t wait to see what you add to it and revise in the future. It’s such a beauty of a poem and I think one of the best I read today alone (and probably for the entire week too).

    1. Thank you Lucy for taking the time to read and comment so extensively! I love T.S. Eliot’s work but it is very hard to capture that kind of magic. I could certainly add more stanzas as I missed a few very special places out 😅

  3. I would LOVE to walk through the streets of Barcelona with you, Ingrid, and your poem is an enjoyable fascimile of the real thing. I’ve always wanted to see the architecture of Gaudi. Dream: a group from dVerse rents a villa in/near Barcelona. Hey, I can dream cant’ I?

  4. Epic, rife with actual places, reading like a prologue in a Bond novel, too personal to be a travelogue. I tend to write longer poems, and I fully enjoyed the depth and richness of this piece.

    1. Thanks Ron – I did miss a few places out, maybe I need to add a few stanzas! I did blog about Barcelona when I lived there actually, but for a commercial site.

  5. Wow, this is a spectacular poem. It seems like I took a virtual tour of the Barcelona streets with you.
    And yes, The House of Bones, seems like an interesting place to visit.

    Barcelona is one of my cities to vist, once this pandemic is over. Thanks so much for joining in.

  6. It is working up for an invitation for a visit there Ingrid. With all those details there is a danger not so much of being lost but not having enough time just for one city.

    Hank

  7. This is such a great poem Ingrid! I can feel your longing for Barcelona! Such great images. I feel like have just visited there! Love these lines…

    the strand of manmade sand
    where I washed up
    an alien
    upon the shores of the Mediterranean:

    your closing is magnificent!

  8. Never change a word. It’s perfect. I have experienced so much of what you beautifully described …. before I turn in this evening, going to revisit the many photos I took ….. memories.

  9. As others have said, this is not a monster but a paean to a city that my wife and I loved every inch of when we visited. I could once again see, feel and smell these places. Beautifully crafted and a joy to find.

  10. I’ve never been to Spain, too hot for me, but I quite fancied Barcelona for the architecture, history and atmosphere. Since my husband’s been furloughed, he’s spent practically every afternoon watching ‘Escape to the Sun’, and all the resorts look the same to me, but Barcelona is something else. I haven’t written a long poem in a long time; I applaud your wonderful ramble through the streets of this colourful city. I love the thought of the ‘Fabergé-egg domes of the Museu del Toro’ and the ‘secret streets where revolution played out’. I particularly like the sound of the House of Bones.

    1. You should go there (obviously not this year) in early May or late September when it’s not too hot and there aren’t too many tourists. It’s also beautiful in winter actually, though it can get quite cold.

      1. My great great grandfather immigrated from there, but I don’t have contact with anyone now. That side of the family left little record of themselves after they came here. Considering my grandfather barely spoke to his 8 brothers and sisters, perhaps it was a family trait. Not true now, thank goodness!

  11. A well-done walk in a distant memory, Ingrid. We write to make these things as vivid as we felt them, and sometimes that takes more than a few words … Happy birthday, too. – B

  12. This a stunning homage to the great Spanish city of Barcelona. I can feel your love for it and its inhabitants as you weave us through the streets taking in its beautiful architecture. I really loved this In grid. In my opinion it is perfect just the way it is ☺️💕

  13. I worked with a couple of Carlos victims in London and then visited them several times after they returned to Barcelona … I have some fascinating memories but don’t know it as well as you but can confirm it sure gets under your skin!

  14. I am back, just as I threatened — AND — Oh Ingrid, thank you thank you thank you for taking me on a tour of Barcelona — the city I wanted so to visit in my life, but never did. My son has been twice, for extended periods, and he and I talk frequently as we page through the two Gaudi books that we brought me from his visits — and I probe him for details and more details. One of the things that I imagine vividly would be watching an FCBarcelona match on the pitch at Camp Nou — wow! I really loved this Ingrid.

  15. Really interesting to read this longer form – I loved your vocal take on Barcelona…
    I don’t find it baggy, but I love that it is a WIP. You will do it proud x

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