Saturday, August 2, 2014

Of Things Past

Draw them up as you will you cannot 
Hold on to them as they slip 

Like water through fingers 
Frozen in marble round 

The ring of a well. 


  1. There is much in that "frozen marble" image, Vassilis. I remember feeling, e.g., as I ascended the steps of the Propylaea (many years ago as a young man) that the goddess still resided there and that I ought to tread reverentially...

    I also saw there, for the first and last time, the ancient linkages between stone and my own religiosity.

  2. Having designed and overseen the construction of our two-story stone house, I can certainly identify with the feeling of reverence that stone gives one. It's a shame that so many stone houses were demolished during the 70s and 80s to make room for the modern brick and/or reinforced concrete abominations that have changed the face of so many Greek villages. At one point, some building contractors were actually demolishing wells and using the stones to build cesspools.

    BTW, you might be interested in seeing where this particular poem got its inspiration.

    Poem #2 from George Seferis’ sequence, Mythistorema. (Keeley & Sherrard translation).


    Still one more well inside a cave.
    It used to be easy for us to draw up idols and ornaments
    to please those friends who still remained loyal to us.

    The ropes have broken; only the grooves on the well’s lip
    remind us of our past happiness:
    the fingers on the rim, as the poet put it.*
    The fingers feel the coolness of the stone a little,
    Then the body’s fever prevails over it
    and the cave stakes its soul and loses it
    every moment, full of silence, without a drop of water.

    *From the notes: *The “poet” referred to is Dionysios Solomos, and the phrase cited is from his prose work, The Woman of Zakynthos, Chap. 1.

  3. the place we rented... (a stone house... on the narrow "street" that the donkeys
    went up carrying tourists to the Lindoz Acropolis... like three time a day a stream of...)
    for US $20 per month

    I helped a stone-working guy, Yannis, build / rebuild the stone wall that faced the "street"

    also helped friends there who had taken out a 99 years lease on a place and were rebuilding the stone house while living in it.
    All the floors of our place made of stones all about the same size set on edge in
    (I guess) cement. We had a toilet in what must have once been a storage closet that
    was set.... but no water to it. We had a faucet out by the stone wall, between the little lemon tree and the wooden gate/door. We there filled a bucket wit water to pour into the toilet to flush. Or cook stove was a rented little two-burner propane-fueled camping range. This was Lindoz, 1967-69.

    et ceteras

  4. Once omnipresent, stone houses and donkeys almost became vanishing breeds in the 80s; luckily, they are both making a comeback, with she-ass milk prices ranging from 30 to 90 euros a litre--HEE-HAW!

  5. who in the hell IS the Jack Ass
    driving the bus ?

    when the sell the donkey's milk
    what will the little asses drink ?

    seems to me
    just as cows' milk is for calfs
    ass' milk is for donks ?

  6. You might have added that the milk that comes from a woman's breasts should also be for her child, as it used to be years before the dairy products conglomerates decided it would be better for them to push the sale of powdered/concentrated "milk" crap and got most of the baby doctors on their side by giving them perks in exchange for a few kind plugs for their products; thank goodness, breast-feeding is making a belated comeback.


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