Neither white roses nor red carnations
It’s the gorse I adore
Gorse flowers, subtle and small, smiling
Nervously amongst thorns.
Among thorns the sky with diamonds decks
When night calls down the mist.
Ah, precious treasure of the barren moor,
Gorse florets are golden.
They are old gold, my mother, the flowers
Of tough gorse- my devotions.
Noriega Varela (1869-1947) was born in Mondoñedo and educated at the Seminary. He subsequently became a primary school teacher and was at the edge of agrarian disputes due to his friendships, particularly with Villar Ponte e Cela.
He was well-known in literary circles but steered clear of Vicente Risco and the budding Galician nationalist movement. Unlike the sharp satire and vigorous debate of his more urbane contemporaries, Noriega Varela’s poetry is characterised by simplicity, clear imagery and calm reflection. It is intimately bound to his homeland and many of the poems speak of his attachment to the mountains around Mondoñedo.