Marbles

Marbles

21 February 2015

IN AN EPIRUS


1:  ΔΩΔΩΝΑ (DODONA)
Stark and therefore more beautiful,
Its striking plainness,
Its lack of verdant lushness –
Grasses and weeds,
Clusters of thorned shrubbery,
Their low growth amassing 
Upon the mountainous surface.
The uncultivated herbs,
Aroma of sweetened dust and pungent myrrh
Roots spreading in greater expanse each springtime
Ancestral seeds having settled here  
Since their jumping off days,
When they unclasped and Aeolus also let go,
Moments before he skimmed the precipice
Which walls off this wilderness,
This plenty of stone.

From shapeless rock
An amphitheater was chiseled
Smooth of proscenium and stage,
To mollify actors, perhaps
Or to appease a thunderous oracle.
Such a long time ago it was
The rains own it now, and the cloudy sunlight.
The orators, the spectators,
Substance altered into dust
Who were they?  But they were, once.

Stone remaining,
Returning to itself out of the abandoned ruins.
  
There is always stone enough to spare
For fashioning fences and walls
That carve and parcel up these hillsides.
I’ve seen them, layers of rock,
Resilient low-lying barriers
Serpentine meanderings   
Easy to stumble over, I imagine.

And why not fall and lie upon them? 
It is who I am: 
An amalgamation of weeds and rocky soil
The product of an impoverished land
And an indifferent earth,
I am a crooked bend, a curve, a rover.



2:  ΠΑΡΑΣΚΗΝΙΟΝ (PARASKENION)
I stood on the wings and I shouted
My door is open, I shouted,
But only stone walls crept in.

Other times too I shouted
Listen, listen to me, I shouted,
No, you do not hear me, I shouted
Listen to what I have to say.
To walls,
I felt as though to walls I had shouted
And that is the problem with walls,
Even flesh and breath walls –
They cannot hear
Therefore they will not listen
And if such is the case
Why should they respond?

My fists are worn from pounding.
I once hated the look that loved me
Now I crave glances from a stoic beloved 
The ill-timed hour, the ill-timed hour, the ill-timed hour
Straddling both sides of my infinity.

Sanguine beads
Upon the stones which gave me birth
If it pulses out, where will it turn, my blood?
Out of the heart of the impassive earth
That died before and will die again,
Oblivious to infinity.