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Monday, June 18, 2007

Oriental Odyssey: The Secret Hoard

First Steps: Disembarking

unloading its secret
hoard from the orient
over Igoumenitsa's
snoring harbour,
bright sunrise pours
over a dark firmament
to light up its core;

disembarking the ferry,
I take in a deep air
of aromatic leaves that
carry a scent of zest
after the night rain,
nature's repentance
for the journey's
stormy terrain is
a sweetened jest;

the wind greets me,
arriving to port
on the oily back of
the sea's dark-blue skin,
having broken
its summer fast
too quickly, guiltily
it kisses me with
breathless exultation:

be careful not to
breathe too deeply

comes a warning's hush,
what works its way in
with one breath will
not leave so easily

and the mountains that watch
with a proud and hostile eye,
religiously guarding a main
road to Athens that marks
the thinning way to
a mythical civilisation
seem to agree;

but ignoring them I walk
on by, preferring to listen
to the sunlight sing
of a promise to show
signs of a goddess
in a waking sky.

Second Steps: Embarking

as the horizon shakes off
dawn's dusky shawl,
a bright indentation
of strawberry-peach shine
lights up the carriage window;

it cloaks the fireflies
that buzz around its frame,
twitching to the sound
of distant church bells
that call darting waves to
crash upon a rocky shore,

no goddess here for you
the chants bound back to me
woefully, as the swaying train
suddenly rumbles the creaking
station platform,

hurriedly pushing me out
of the coastal city,
its wagons rattle
an indignant yawn
to the break of day,

sleepy donkeys chewing rough
heads of yellow weeds,
and a few dry trees now
ignore the train as I pass by
painfully unheeded;

no goddess waits for you
whispers the secret hoard
of fears every hoping heart
carries in its haul,
and no sunrise can lighten
the load hidden deepest of all.

Main Index | Part 2: "An Oriental Odyssey" - page one | two | three

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