In Benidorm there are melons


Fiesta Melons

by Sylvia Plath

In Benidorm there are melons,
Whole donkey-carts full

Of innumerable melons,
Ovals and balls,

Bright green and thumpable
Laced over with stripes

Of turtle-dark green.
Chooose an egg-shape, a world-shape,

Bowl one homeward to taste
In the whitehot noon :

Cream-smooth honeydews,
Pink-pulped whoppers,

Bump-rinded cantaloupes
With orange cores.

Each wedge wears a studding
Of blanched seeds or black seeds

To strew like confetti
Under the feet of

This market of melon-eating



Sketch done by Sylvia Plath in Benidorm
and contemporary photo of the spot 1956

“Widow Magada’s house: pale, peach-brown stucco on the main Avenida running along the shore, facing the beach of reddish yellow sand, with all the gaily painted cabañas making amaze of bright blue wooden stills and small square patches of shadow. The continuous poise and splash of incoming waves mark a ragged white line of surf beyond with the morning sea blazes in the early sun, already high and hot at ten-thirty; the ocean is cerulean towards the horizon, vivid azure nearer shore, blue and sheened as peacock feathers. Out in the middle of the bay justs a rock island, slating up from the horizon line to form a sloped triangle of orange rock which takes the full glare of sun on its graigs in the morning and falls to purple shadow toward late afternoon.”  (1956)

I’m not quite sure what to make of Sylvia Plath. I had never really paid much attention to her work before, and I was never a great fan of Ted Hughes either; though forced to ‘study’ his poetry once. However, I’m interested in that period, 1956, when they were in Benidorm for six months, so I will go and visit the house where they stayed (59 Carrer Tomás Ortuño) later this week and take some photographs.

1956 is the year usually quoted for the general urbanisation plan (PGOU) but it is wrong: the year was 1955, I have been assured today by historian Francisco Amillo.


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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