Friend/Enemy or Interest Only **

… I prefer to talk to the dead:
The living have given up
Their listening. Those gone before
Share my whisperings – quirk’s
Illusion – tears
Brined on hot stones.

And when I step out, ex-officio,
I am never segregated; alone.
I carry the bold genesis
Of the Bronze Age:
Iliad threads caught
In a coat of Homeric undertones.

“Wherever I travel, Greece wounds me!” *
That enamel cry, Seferis. I know
The Aegean once flowered with corpses
And your Centaur’s plight
Met with rabid dogs… perhaps
It turned sailors into poets?

But mute rests the exotic post exorcism
My reformer of Odyssey.
A wayfaring visitor gathers
The proclamations
Your saddened harvest held within
The breast of the night’s sun.

Ever dark – the cold glistening chains!
Ever dark epistles defying
Still darker ransoms… the erosion
Of power and hands nailed
To the gunwale.

Now, the tongue’s attack…
“We are dying! Our Gods are dying!” *
Not so. One crippled monk
Tends the door-key to St Mama’s.
Starfish scuttle a pilgrimage
From Corfu, to Crete – and…

Nearby a saffron rose makes
Peace with the half moon.
I raise the small terracotta statue
To the heaven’s might. Watch
How Aphrodite’s lips
Bloom scripted continuance.

* Seferis: Collected Poems

++ US Military Chief visits Greece amid strain with Turkey

Stefanie Bennett, ex-blues singer and musician, has published several books of poetry, a novel, and a libretto. She also worked with Arts Action For Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Irish/Italian/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Australia in 1945. Read other articles by Stefanie.