Leucadian Reveries




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.







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

          Noon heat






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.






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!

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.






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 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.






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


Perfumes are

Like my dreams

Have always been.






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?






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!






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.






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.


Tim Cloudsley nació Cambridge, Inglaterra. Es sociologo, escritor y poeta. Trabajó como profesor en la Escuela de Idiomas, de la Universidad Industrial de Santander, Bucaramanga en el ámbito de estudios culturales y literatura.

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