A Black Snake

To Theodoros Stylianou, a friend

Now a black snake reigns in the village
the old mansion its palace.

Black snakes
are tamed with bread made of wheat
or with black bread made of barley
in times of poverty.

Now so alone yet
still a faithful guard,
it underlines the desolation even more
as it holds onto its bitter story:

It was many years ago, when in the village
the last master of the house lived
in this mansion. It recalls
their last child being born.
They often spoke about leaving then,
about fields that did not yield enough to feed them,
about the child and the school they would send him to.
The child and the snake then became best friends
and every night they slept
in the childs crib together, embraced.
One awaited the other
and both awaited night.

And when the child could speak
and when the names of his parents he could utter
filling the house with joy,
he always spoke of the friend
that awaited him every night.
But who would believe a child that says:
The snake will come and together we will sleep.
Until the day that his mother saw,
that while her child lay in his crib,
a snake climbed
and the child, with a cry of joy,
stretched his little hands,
and the two united like brothers.

The mother was fearful
and the whole house was fearful.
What could they understand
about this one of lifes games?
and so together, they took the child and left.

And so a snake wanders alone
in the ruins.
It has slept in winters,
been awake in summers,
has shed many skins but always
remembers a child, a crib
and a life that once was
when snake and child embraced.

And so the child, now a grown man,
has heard the old story
as if it were a fairytale.
And now, when he returns to see
the house that once was his house,
he sees the snake and becomes fearful.

Death of the trees
In the northern countries where in the long winters
the snow covers the ground
no-one knows
when precisely the trees die.

They shed their leaves in the autumn
and they stand naked in line in the snow.
The Spring arrives, the snow melts,
the trees, leaves and blossoms fly quickly
here and there.
It is then revealed that certain trees
have died at some stage in the winter.
As birds who have left for other lands
who do not return to the roots.

Their body now stands in line
together with the others,
in this festival of life,
naked, underlining with lead
in the blue and the green
their death, simple and humble.
Transient Spring, 1984
Awaiting rain
Awaiting rain. Years we wait
staring at the empty sky.
The world covered by dust,
leaves stripped of color.
An infertile womb, the earth awaits orgasm.
Even the sun needs washing.

This drought has settled in our souls
like the dust that covers ancient stones that burn, unwashed in the sun.
Even our souls have become
ancient mosaics covered by dust.

We await the rain, to cleanse us,
to regain our color,
the shine trapped inside us,
the light
born of our stones and earth.
Figures of absence
Shapes of bodies that once lived,
figures that existed upon the warmth of touch,
upon the tastefulness of style,
follow us
wanting to utter their own words.

Empty shells upon the sea bed, empty conches,
empty armors, helmets, vestments
in shapes that once held
living bodies
and walked the cycle of life with them.
Urns in shapes molded by naked hands,
in shapes that held wine and oil
often repeating the fruitful womb
and the cross of man.
Does it all remain, gestures of a memory that recurs,
vessels of souls that passed and are now where?
The same question repeating itself!
What is really ours of all we embody,
of all we carry inside
to place at the feet of time
who wants us simply his registrars
so that he may continue his journey through the ages!
We walk the road
porters and creators
of a singular value
in the worlds decay.
Naked wandering soul
When the soul leaves the body
stealing away like a lover betrayed
wishing to never return
to the home that held her
bound to things
and to the four dimensions.

She wanders, naked as a butterfly
blossom to blossom
roaming the streets,
rivers and seas
failing in love with the world once more,
singing, rebelling...

She leaves the body to the lights embrace
to the water and the earth
moving silently into the rain
to connect with the eternal music of the universe,
from where there is no return.
She wishes to return
where she first came to know light and joy,
to all she had experienced
to become all this
united in one infinite moment,
in one existence.
And to continue to be here
with no right to vote or intercept
but always,
inside everything
a place,
a tear,
a smile.
The Water of Memory, 1988

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