Down in the narrow streets and in the narrow bars they’re all crammed in drinking tinto and eating pinchos and coming up with glorious ideas:
Like having their own country.
Like independence from not one country but two!
In those narrow streets they drape flags from their balconies.
In those narrow streets they await the next annual fiesta.
Every year (in July),
Sprinting towards it from the ancient river
__Men dressed in virgin white clothes
(With red scarves around the jugular vein)
Chase bulls into the ring and into a frenzy.
The cow, the holiest of animals
And the godmother of civilisation,
Ensured the rise of agriculture and the role of women.
Thus the clash with primitive man who wants to wear
__The bear’s head and the bulls horns;
Become something greater than he.
Evoke the animal gods that he feels in the dark forest
__And sees in constellations.
All this, rumbling in our psyche
And rumbling through the streets in hot July.
The bulls unrelentlessly charging
__And clashing with today’s insecure ego.
The bull killed in a mad frenzy
__Unthanked and unworshipped.
San Fermin is Spain’s most famous bull run and has been taking place every year for over well over half a millenium. Made famous by Ernest Hemingway’s personal account in Fiesta, the event is a worldwide attraction and now, thanks to inflight travel magazines, it is on many people’s “bucket list”. The spiritual importance of this event – which was surely an act of initiation – is, unfortunately, now lost on most attendants.