Marching on Parnassus

GRECIA

During the long course of this poethood
My songs I have prepared for one moment,
At last! to Grecia by my Muses sent
& in my heart I knew they always would!

Upon Italic plateauxs have I stood
Hoping to glimpse her shores through mountains bent
Between the mists, that shuffle innocent
From peak to peak, as only phantoms could!

As we are sailing to antiquity
Some laurel wreath to fix unto a brow,
Where oranges hang every second tree,
Antiquity seems almost here & now

As Greece, in rustic beauty, like a bay,
Before us spreads as breaks the cloudless day.


 

IONIA

The sun is setting gold on Zacynthus,
The breeze is blowing freedom thro’ my hair
The waves at the beck & call of Phorcys,
Have dragg’d us ever closer to his lair.

O Cephalonia, Byronic isle!
Such promise holds mine animated mind
Beneath thy peaks I’ll spend some happy while,
Sensing, already, sights to stir my kind.

Am I some Telemachos coming home?
Or Eumea drifting in from Elis?
Or Phaecian vessel spurting thro foam,
Where in the hold slumbers Odysseus?

I am these things, & many more beside,
For they shall live ‘til poetry has died!


 

HERMES

O! God of scholars, travelers & thieves,
I pray, lord, watch my labour
& all success & grace which it receives
Offer to thy favour

O keen-eyed giant-slayer, never old,
On sandals mountain-skimming
Vvarnish’d with an untarnishable gold
Heed my mortal hymning

O son of Maia! if one hundred eyes
Yearn to hurt me dearly
Grant me bad weather or a clever guise
& I’ll vanish clearly

Lord, find me antidotes when I ‘m grown ill
Or cloaks & tunics when comes winter’s chill


 

KEPHALONIA

I stood upon the old Venetian bridge
That nordic Argostoli now lagoons
& hitch’d a ride to Sami, slept a night
‘Neath canvas in a vacant camping ground;
Another ride, next morning, I’d alight,
A ferry-boat to tramel sound-to-sound
At whose sharp keel I sat, the wild sea-spray
Fresh spirits energizing for the tour.

Last night we camp’d under wonderful stars
& today, what a day, what adventure,
Breakfast by the beach, a warm morning high
With the sky never-ending above us
& the sea full of islands where tip-tops of mountains
Rise up on the swarms of wild olives.


 

DEPARTING THE SANCTUARY OF OLYMPIA

Until we meet again, Olympia!
When I shall raise my daughter to the height
A toddling flame
& as the morn-pink roses, would show her
The very scene & in the very light
I chose her name

My love, as I sit waiting for a bus
To Tropea or Pirgos, either way,
I think of thee!
Wondering if the future holds for us
A glitter-girl to please us in her play
Our bouncing bee

Who, when she’s sleeping looks as sweet as you
& laughing, me!


 

STERCA HELLAS

Where Autumn-tinted peaks rise glorious
I hitch’d a lift, a lorry-load of bales
Whose little houses sing their hearth-side tales
Old stories of this hoary, mountainous
Region, of most hardy handsome hunters
Fed by their ever-fattening females
Where taxidermy, of the arts, prevails
& portraits hang with pride for ancestors!

The Mornou Dam sits like a precious stone
Heart of a highland chain that god-like rings
This world where only poets dare to chance
& each of them, I sense, was once a throne
For spirits older than Olympic kings,
Where Cronos dined & Titans loved to dance.


 

TO DELPHI

As careful steps & aiming for the post
Must bring us ever closer to our goal,
Thro’ sharp-barb’d thorny burnett hack’d my feet,
Urg’d on by robins perch’d on pungent spurge,
Along an ancyent path of broken stones,
Which Idomenus trod before the truce’
I mountain-goated past four snarling hounds,
Stone-showers scatter, man’s best friend or nay!

The bravest follows at a wise distance,
A fine black bitch, til gladly I arrive
By Delphi’s walls, the troubadour no more,
Strange tortoise, with a home flat on my back,
Ready to rest, & write, & relish life
Upon same rocks where Orpheus once roam’d!


 

LIDORIKI

Post modern haiku
World-nomadic sonetteer
Photos in stanzas

Village football match
Slangful insults friendly flung
Scratching cinder feet

Wow! Superstar goal
Next morning while buying bread
Him humble baker

Perfect piazza
English football every scene
Tables skimmed with cards


 

CASTALIAN SPRING

So, this is the heartbeat of poetry,
From holy Parnassus, uprising sheer,
These magi-waters of empyrean,
Pulse down from such a theatre of stone,
Them pouring thro’ the depths of my studies,
Where in a sketch I see gargoyle faces –
Perhaps by Hobhouse in Lord Byron’s ‘Life’ –
Who came up, too, to taste this ancient spring
Upon his very famous ‘Pilgrimage,’
While mine is ended here… I sup the mead,
Faint hint of minerals, revitalised,
I swear to all my Muses I shall be
A poet still, & if they ride with me
To Scotland, I shall build them temples there!


 

THIRTY STIRLING

Thirty Stirling from Thessalonika
I paused a moment with my golden race
One of those places no-one ever goes
Where only true poetry can take ya

With a two-litre bottle of rose
& a view, & the sun, & the moment
When mounting Mount Parnassus has just leant
A certain special magic to the day

I dream of more fresh roses to be found
Across the world in sites yet to be seen
& of the children I am pois’d to ween
& buy for each an island & a hound

A terrier for most, but for the best
A spaniel with silver-splashing chest!


 

THERMOPYLAE

Napoleon, in Amiens, the crown!
Wrested from papal clutches, his own hands
Placed steel upon his brow, Corsican clown
No longer, but an emperor of lands!

I came upon a plain of dreams & steam
A spartan in my body, duty, rhyme
Where Leonidas & his polis cream
Defied the best of persia in their prime

On noble Kolonos a monument
Topp’d by a laurel wreath, I gladly felt
That thro the muses it was sent to me
As I before phoenician letters knelt

Bending the branch into a perfect ring
& crown’d myself, at last, a poet-king!


 

ON THE SLOPES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS

Zeusian eagles hover’d oer the folds
Where I collected firewood, meanwhile
Immersed in poesy’s pristeen reverie,
Of lofty pitch & classical alludes,
The constitutions of a younger vow
Lay fully realized, a windy day,
Tho’ again, no cloud on which to ponder –
Of any poet’s life I’ve known no par.

Above us rose Olympus, tree-green gorge
Echoes mine epic chauntings to the gods
With ghostly, half-minoan bursts of joy.

Far from the heavings of society,
I cook wild stew in Castalian mead,
Flavour’d by mountain herbs, & cared for naught.


 

EMAIL FROM THESSALY

As every maid Odysseus posess’d
Pinn’d Telemachus, home, hard to their breast
I want to wake beside you every day
Tell you I love you, ask if you’re OK
Give you a kiss if you’re going to work
Or hide if you’re menstrual & going bezerk
For ye are the one thing I crave here the most
Ycamped on the crest of this ocean coast
Where under me sea-nymphs whisper your name
& above glitter stars with your eye-light’s flame
An eagle glides by me as deft as you do
All these & this singing reminds me of you
For you are the music that livens my drumming
Be patient, my love, I am coming…

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