Requiem for a Matador


‘Sol y sombre?’ is the burning question, the poor and the monied come,

The spectacle, the snorts, the sand, the viscous blood & sun,

Conchita Cintrón: a golden goddess, not just a mother & wife,

Ordóñez: a hero to the poor, for ‘la corrida’ and them he gave his life.


A tri-cornered hat, a dull estoque, a first-class ‘suit of lights’,

To the Blessed Virgin the matador prays: ‘please protect my life!’’

Across the arena, a noble bull looks on askance,

La corrida is the place where their is no ‘sporting chance’


Some like their Death on a sangre-soaked, sultry afternoon,

Others prefer it post-repast, while cicadas dine upon the wounds,

Los picadores clean their lances, the sangria ebbs and flows,

The hour has come, empty honour awaits, the matador must go.


Bizet birthed a new word and so the ‘toreador’ was born,

Some protested: “asesino!”, but most became inured,

But el toro knows not of dull semantics, only naked fear,

But today he will become the bull that kept his ears!


Naked cries of horror, the crowd rise and fall as one,

They cannot watch, they look away, the matador’s undone!

El toro finds the strength to gore: not once, but twice then three, 

Tomorrow’s headlines, bleak and terse: ‘No Recovery’.


An American writer described it well, Picasso came to watch,

But times they change, like time itself, a slow, relentless march

Progress means that it’s ‘la corrida’ now that must be put to death

The chapter’s ended, close the book, let’s inhale a sweet, new breath…


(Picture: ‘Study of a Bullfight Number 2’ 1963 Francis Bacon)

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