Gaiteiros

Unshaven gaiteiros in traditional costume— black waistcoats, white shirts, black breeches,

flaccid bagpipes over their shoulders,

talking among themselves in the minority language—

like deserters who’ve walked a long way.

White puttee bandages below their knees,

black knee-breeches—like the battles drummers

from a forgotten peninsular war

falling behind among the prostitutes

and their children, the stumbling camp followers.