September 27, 2016

Poems Written on a Greek Island



Adrift on seas of wine
Off the coasts of slate,
The golden bells of mermaids rang
Night's changes by the Gates

Of Hercules. The wind stood up
And danced upon our sheets.
A ship sailed through our window,
Its cold crew robed in sleet.

Among them brave Ulysses,
Captain Ahab and his crew.
Stormtossed, they'd slept in silt
For an age, then sailed anew,

Northward to those seas of ice
Where iron seagulls rust.
From pole to pole they seek their homes
Long since turned to dust.

Above them fishing ships in fleets
Still strain the sea for gold,
While at their table Homer's wine
Refuses to grow old.

At times they shade our reefs of dream,
And we sense them as they pass --
Like shadows thrown by the moon,
Like whispers heard through glass.


Crossing the Saronic Gulf

My brown Greek sandled feet hang down
From the Argonaut’s bow, flying low
Above the white churned foam.
Before me the Aegean scintillates
Stretching flat as wine-dark glass
To Hydra’s hills of haze and smoke
Where they're burning the hay
To flat black stubble.

To the west, a sarcophagus of islands
Etches the edges of the Peloponnesian sky,
And is consumed in the burnt orange mist
Of the sun's long day’s journey
Into the star-soaked blood slashed sea.
Beside me dolphins crest the claret swells,
Surfing the wake of our ship,
Synchronous and to the side of time.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at September 27, 2016 12:01 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Darn it, Gerard. I like working, I like going to work every day and working will all my good friends and getting stuff done. I could do it every day until I croak.

And then I read your poems, and I say to myself, what the f-all am I doing? The thought of going to Europe fills me with dread. The Aegean is probably like it was in the days of the Sea Peoples and the Persian invasions combined. Where's the Pax Romanum when there are pirates to be brutalized? All of Asia Minor and the Levant are on the move. And any sissy coddled Anglo fool enough to come looking, just looks like prey to all of them.

But the idea of really sailing the Aegean and Tyrrhenian, from port to port, Sparta to Anatolia and back and around to Dubrovnik, sure sounds as if its on the short list of things to be done.

Posted by: John A. Fleming at September 28, 2016 12:18 AM

Personally, I prefer poems written on paper. (You're right, I'm a clod. Never been able to appreciate poetry. Tried, but just couldn't.)

Posted by: BillH at September 28, 2016 9:38 AM


Posted by: Gail Cooper at October 4, 2016 1:48 PM