“the fingers on the rim, as the poet put it.” —George Seferis, Mythistorema #2*
The wild fig tree that has put down roots Deep in its depths and taken over The well’s mouth tells us no more Wishing here—the ropes have broken And the grooves on its lip serve
To remind us those lines of maidens Who pulled up pail after pail of water Year after year have long since departed, And where once there was nubile skittery, Domesticated stony silence is all we hear.
*The “poet” referred to is Dionysios Solomos,
and the phrase cited is from his prose work,
The Woman of Zakynthos, Chap.I.
All this murderous Business of people going about Their daily business of killing People unlike themselves, What power under The heavens will rise up To wipe this enterprise off The face of the earth And make it human again?
Yesterday you were firm As a brooding hen, not Budging an inch from your future Capital, come what may. Well, I’ve got news for you, you Fly-by-night mogul—the god Almighty inch is still here today, Plus the budgie in its gilded cage. Before the cock crows anew, While your lovey-dovey precious Nest egg’s flying the coop and stool Pigeons coo, I bet swiftly you’ll be Roosting in a chintzy cuckoo’s nest a blue Moon away, you cheesy yahoo you.
The secret of my success? Too bad A run of bad luck means I’m going To take that with me but I can Leave you this much, Einstein— I didn’t get this far in life By counting the number Of steps I took backwards.
If we had dared Say we were happy when Such days as these Came and went and we Just kept on hoping Everything would go On being the same, Who would have believed Us and how much Of what we had said Would we have changed?
After a long day spent Asking never-ending questions To see if I’m deserving Of my state, now in the darkening Twilight, the slightest wind-swept Brush of burnished gray-brown hair Cross her steady unassuming gaze Reminds me it’s best I let the light, That incredible uplifting light of hers That never seems to end, Sweep my every doubt away, Leaving me alone to cherish my fate.
Here, Under a now brilliant Clear cold blue Winter sky that just Two hours ago Dumped a foot Of blinding snow in And around its hollow Shell, I find myself Wondering how
It is this magnificent Still standing tall Two-storey centenarian Stone derelict no longer With a roof to its name Still shamelessly refuses To lie there in shambles And take its monumental History down With it.