Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Chair Contemplating Colossus of Cyprus


In the Museum garden

Empty chairs:
the statues have returned

to the other museum.


--George Seferis, from “Sixteen Haiku”


Four days on a guided tour of Cyprus during the Christmas holiday (courtesy of the Greek Agricultural Pension Fund) were not enough to fully appreciate this beautiful and still tragically divided island, nor am I well-enough informed to know what really happened there so many years ago; still, the sight of a huge crescent and the flag of the illegal Turkish pseudo-state of "Northern Cyprus" provocatively carved on the mountainside overlooking Nicosia and the barricades dividing the city make me wonder if there will ever be a viable solution to the Cyprus problem. For those interested, you can read what the island has gone through
here. Sadly, another tragic story that time is slowly but inexorably erasing.

As for the photo of the gigantic (10m!)
statue of Archibishop Makarios situated about 500 meters from his grave, it’s a shame that such a beautiful spot high up in the rugged Troodos mountain range should be defaced by such a monument to bad taste. How the plastic chair found its way up here is anybody’s guess but it makes a fitting complement to the kitsch atmosphere pervading the scene.

NB:
George Seferis wrote a great number of poems while on his first visit to Cyprus in 1953; published in 1955, they were included in his Collected Poems 1924-1955 as Logbook III.

NBB: Seferis' haiku should look like this:

In the Museum garden

Empty chairs:
the statues have returned
to the other museum.


4 comments:

  1. What an odd juxtaposition, this chair and statue: the kitsch and the aesthetic, the contemporary and the past. Good that you can experience such a holiday, though it sounds as though in many ways it was painful for you, not too much so I hope.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anyone sitting in the chair does not look towards the man-made statue but towards nature (the trees).
    That should feel like a relief (or not?)

    ReplyDelete
  3. E,

    If you can, read Seferis' poem "Helen"--it describes perfectly what we experienced.

    P,

    Yes, but the chair is contemplating the statue which is contemplating the trees!

    Thanks to you both for commenting!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a great post. I just had one of the ‘Doh!’ moments and ran back to correct my own site before publishing my comment. You see my own comment form did not match what I’m about to advice. I get less comment than you, so never noticed any problem. I’ve changed it now anyway so here goes.

    study abroad

    ReplyDelete