THE ROCK OF LEUCADIA
From some far beak of a white promontory
Sappho plunged, according to legend,
For unrequited love, as so many today
Break still their hearts, but in private silence
For Phaon, though that extraordinary lady
Normally loved young lovely ladies
In her school for marriage, on her island Lesbos,
And swooned at the moon in its burning beauty.
Byron‘s Childe Harold saw the evening star
Far above the rock as he sailed by,
Wandering in archetypal dark adventure,
Pirate-like, exploring in excitement
The deep soul, boiling, like the Mediterranean
ln dream, awake to the brightest star
Wherever it might flare, daring all
Like Odysseus in the beginning, before Literature
Was invented, seeking return
To Ithaca, the island too small and rugged
For horses or meadows, having only goats
And sheep, meandering over free hills.
THE BABY OF PERIGIALLI
This baby of Perigialli
Was the most famous there by far,
Of the babies in Perigialli
Ills sound could be heard afar!
He surprised his neighbours at lunch,
And deafened those by his side
At dinner, then threw as missiles propelled -
A chip, a plate, or a glass!
This baby so famous by the sea
Wm known in Perigialli so well,
As he dropped his bottle and yelled at all
Whether near or far, in Perigialli!
The famous baby at Perigialli,
He knew the moment to call
Everyone‘s bluff, and cry wolf
At the people of Perigialli!
He needed his mouth to be stuffed
With ice-cream or bananas or chocs,
In buy some time for the poor people
Of Perigialli, to think or rest!
Whether there can ever be tears like that
Whether clouds can fly so meaninglessly by
Whether you can talk and dream of making love
ln the aftermath of heaven in freedom‘s walk
Whether interruptions spoil eternity
Whether the noise of absurdity
Blocks your vision and confuses toil
In perplexity, when the dreamers talk
Like clouds flitting by in summer‘s play
Like talk of absurdity dreaming a way
In spite of interruptions in heavenly tears,
Where love is confusing with spoiled stars
Twisting leaves on
Cypresses, eucalyptus, olive groves
Cicadas, crickets, stridulate
Bright purple flowers,
Rocky hills Mount Stavrotas
Sparrows in throng, nibbling goat
Dusty acacia path
Idle curiosity on a beach
Could kill a cat, even a panther,
As eyes are drawn around the curves
You have not been invited to,
And into recesses that the Goddess guards
Quietly yet firmly, allowing entry
Only to a surprised, beckonned stranger
Very occasionally - this is the rule
Of Nature and Woman most of the time.
Yet they expect a careless peep
From time to time - not overdone -
And become despondent if men are too
Good: this seems to be another perennial
Rule of Woman and Nature.
Where Sappho plunged into the sea,
Let me live long, and live responsibly,
Though in communion with her intensity
As l am with her, irrevocably
She for always, into the dark wine
Of the sea, yearning beyond what waves know
I in insanity under the moon
Feel sanely, dreaming sensibly.
PIOS MORO MOU PlOS
Wild beautiful dance
Fierce soft maenad
Freeing the soaring soul from bodily shackles
Dancing with sweet beauty
On sun-drenched shores of Ionian islands
Bathed in the blue of the Ionian sea
Wild whirl of wisdom
Orgiastic ritual to pure truth
On coasts of Greek genius
Platonic emotion freed from emotion
Beauty of the sun beyond the sun
Perhaps when his older friend, Socrates
Died, Plato went home and wrote a Phrygian
lament - orgiastically wild, uncompromisingly sad
And so when he came to dream his Republic,
He banned it; just as in asserting ecstasy
In knowledge of the object in itself
He transcended emotion, lust, and art,
For truth — the pure face of a higher beauty
With absolute form.
ALL HONOUR TO PROFESSOR DORPFELD!
All honour to Professor Dorpfeld!
He had an idea, and clung to it
With bravery and a whole lifetime,
Undeterred by others´ scoffing,
Thus he made a life at Nidri
And Levkas he remade with his imagination!
He proved that even a very strong hunch
May be wrong! and that dedication
Can often be misdirected:
But, he had a pedigree —
Plato‘s dreadful ideas on the perfect society,
And his banal psychology,
Are clothed in the purest genius of light
On the nature of knowldge, concepts, forms, and beauty -
So much so that in every age
Since he lived, he has seemed
The Philosopher — towering in majesty and greatness of thought,
Unthwarted by nature, time, humanity, or dross.
Dorian was on an Ionian beach
Watching the light in the dark sea
Imagining laughter in wine-like swells
Glorying freely in a hullabaloo;
Lunging to water like an invading Greek
lnto mythical lands and frenzied water —
The salt sea crinkling around his brain,
Thoughts aflying, raucously;
Light and breezy, like lights on water,
Heavy and suffering as a dangerous mountain
Sun on easiness, swimming soft,
Tragic and difficult, warrior tough.
To sail to Ithaca
The last port before your final battle —
Quixote-like, in Greece for some strange freedom
ln your demented mind -
Of wine or dreams or love confused with hate and anger
Ever to be debated, bampot-filled,
With stars flying ever defying
Even Unreason‘s obnoxious stares,
I´ll find your house, how was the maid?
Did you prove the Devil as well as God
ls an Englishman? The sea was good
For your final fling, after Childe Harold
Had already sailed past Sappho‘s rock
And you had buried your evil crack
With a melancholy beauty so powerful even
Shelley was struck and mesmerized:
After you swam far out to sea
In the Gulf of Spezia, after
The funeral pyre, in the wailing night
With beckonning stars and Adonai´ glorious
Light, making a final mirth -
Sarcastic and bright as a starry dome
Staining the White Light with many-coloured glass
That you touched maniacally like Odysseus and Alexander
Before: your brain touched with no good purpose,
Flared with the light of Grecian genius,
Poetry burning in your blood like oil
That should not have been there, or certainly not
On that kind of fire! Cranky nut,
Your boat in Ionian and Aegian seas
Still has a sail — I see it now!
lt always is, and burns afar.
ARETHUSA ‘ S SPRING
At the Fountain of Arethusa
Clear water rises like Mirth,
The swineherd fills his goatskin
As Odysseus nears his end!
Eumaios tastes the Spring,
The wandering closes in,
Odysseus will find Penelope
At last, and love will win!
Do you know beauty as a firing child
Did you fly over the edge as Alexander
The Great - the only and one insanity
Burning beyond the possible?
Why was no poetry good enough
For you, why would all burning stars
Have to fire beyond what is good or wild
For mortals: that‘s where the world
Would stop - starting at the flaming end,
Where peace allowed your resting to stop.
l‘ll come to Ithaca
Where at last your sails will wind me dry,
And there l´ll fold, a moth from the beautiful sea
Moulding in melancholy, burning with lights so lovely
Drifting up and down as a boat ecstatically
Oh! why cannot I be you and me
I AM THE KING OF BEAUTY AND BLUE
I am the king of beauty and blue
I have seen pink, sea-green, and maroon
I have dreamt sweetness, and fought like a fool
And a knife in the hollow, mad battling balloon;
Let noone say pure perfumes float
In the air for dreamers, waiting like booty
When l and my few smuggling companions
Have been dashed on rocks, and rough coral spikes.
Ploughing this warm deep sea of blue,
Between Sappho‘s rock and Ithaca´s Stavros plain -
Where Odysseus was first called upon by they,
The Achaeans, who caused his journey and wanderings;
What realm is it we live in, here on earth:
The beauty of reality, or of a dream?
So near the island of Homer‘s Ithaca
We passed another boat close by at sea -
The helmsman waved, as he would have to, and we waved back
And after, a woman near me smiled a smile
Of which we understood the deep meaning.
There is an understanding of the spirit
Which makes it rise when it has to like the sea.
Rhona with her golden hair
Under Sappho‘s burning moon
Was so beautiful, she made the night
Almost sad - but simultaneously
Gloriously happy, Greek and lovely,
In the blue night sky and the burning moon.
How wonderful is night
Night in her Greek moon,
Her beauty scratches down your back
As it burns totally;
Night in Ionian skies,
Islands drifting in blue,
White-flecked seas bathe the shore
As you dream irrevocably.
LOVE FOR ME
I only know your gorgeous beauty,
Your lovely sweetness through all the ﬁre
And confusion, you are a loving flame
That burns in spite of all chaotic pain.
Your kindness is beyond the sky
Of dark stars, and lights die
When you are not warm for me,
I am madness without you free.
Here it is -
This is where
We should have always been:
l know this well,
I was always here —
The smells of nature‘s
Like my dreams
Have always been.
CONFINED TO HOME, WITH PONKY, AT PERIGIALLI
I can hear the insects stridulate
Can walk a few yards into the glorious sun
Or can see the strange slats of light through shutter-doors
This is still Greece, so why should I be discontented?
TO DEFEND THERMOPYLAE
All honour to they who set themselves to defending Thermopylae!
Especially they who forsee (and many do forsee)
That Ephialtes will betray, and let the Mede pass through
So that you will die, yet will not ultimately fail,
As standing for the principle is the thing,
Whether you succeed in this battle or nay,
Whether you personally live or die!
Tread through all exhaustion, and find your way to the sun;
Leave regrets behind, memories of failed hopes —
Go to the lilt of the music, and treat the dark wails
With derision: feel the dance
Of light nymphs turning on air -
They are forever, and your grief
ls transitory, quite unreal —
Learn to leap for the light
With your mind, even if your body fails!
THE BEACH AT PERIGIALLI
On the beach at Perigialli,
I saw my destiny
Was not so bad, its shape had form
And I could mould a meaning
If I tried.
ME AND PONKY RETURNING
All fire that flames from the blood of time -
Children of wildness with the light of Greece
Crinkling the air with a clarity
Of madness like Odysseus not blocking
His ears to the Sirens: starred adventurers
Ploughing over the edge, surviving
Back to the North, holding bliss
ln memory, stirring love
In goodbyes to the junipers;
Being of both kinds of blood at once
We know we are quite strange at heart,
And see in visions of Grecian light.