Category Archives: Greece

“The Greeks Have Flown”

“The Greeks Have Flown”

The Greeks have flown; they’ve left their god
A morsel, a token of devoted consummation,
And a fitting tribute to Poseidon on the shores of conflagration
As Casandra’s painful cries go largely unheeded beyond a nod
From time to time within the royal brood; their sovereign’s rod
And sceptre sanctified by land and sea, firm determination
To abide by what is thought a victory for the nation
Complete with joyous riots in the streets, the sod
Still wet festooned with crimson oils and a decade laid to waste;
While Trojan mothers weep, their sons receive the final rites
And Priam’s troubles treble as the night in blindness falls.
Wreathes of fine remembrance punctuate belated joys, the caul
Of sorrow thin and thinner in the ritual; they’ll circumambulate
The horse that dwells within the walls and sleep in peace tonight.

“Within the Second”

“Within the Second”

Within the second, tension
Greeting and suspension
Sought by no one’s intervention
Never seen when the incision
First was made; immediately regretted,
The fisherman must pay out nets in
By miles in order to withdraw from what is set in
Stone for life and wife and children and the silence of posterity. Sunsets
Measured by exigency’s precision and jealous alacrity in moments
Of lucidity crown flights that condescend to incidents and stories
Never dreamed by this finest man or that great fish by land or sea
But in and with slightest motion’s predetermined goals, histories
Of continents and oceans satisfy Calliope
and there within their stations, torments
Boast of sacrifice for crowds where cowards
in the chorus crucify their tragic characters and epic plots
swell as sweat from depths within the pores of poets
finding every gilded ancient fear a kind of test
that does not rest but resonates as never-ending glory.

“Do You Hear Laughter, Ramses?”

“Do You Hear Laughter, Ramses?”§

Do you hear laughter, Ramses? Perhaps a slice
Of whatever’s left of Kurdistan? The Yemen or Sudan? From the imams
Some slight adjustment in the going rate for poppies in Afghanistan?
Did you believe you were the first? By chance, would it be nice
To be the last?… but then again, there’s something lurking in the dice
And if by chance the six’s multiply to but thrice, the horn of Ethiopia’s
The prize for service with distinction, by default a supra-cornucopia,
Or just another nosegay for an ordinary day? Memories suffice
So far, my friend, and comes the cosmic slap when what was only yesterday
A casual promise warms up yet another Oedipus who in neglect reflects
The ancient legend in the latest model of the child to help defray the odds
On probability that this time, the Messiah’s come embarrassing the gods
Who claim another virgin’s loss an evening or a day’s diversion. Prospects
Multiply like maggots on the carcass of what’s forgotten anyway.

§ The title of this sonnet comes from a line addressed to Pharoah in the film, The Ten Commandments and came to mind as I stood on my balcony facing south and wondered at everything I’ve heard from Irán where just a few weeks ago, in one small village, the homes of the Bahá’ís living in that village were cruelly leveled in an attempt to rid the villagers of Bahá’ís without notice, without due process of law, without arrests, indictments, without any reason in the world except that they were Bahá’ís. I wondered at how anyone in my religion could be considered a threat to anyone else on this earth and particularly the established governments and leaders insofar as Baha’is are absolutely forbidden even to discuss politics and are rendered incapable of being a threat to any government or leader through the very Scriptures to which thy subscribe, and yet, for the last three years, a group of seven men and women have languished in Evin Prison in close and uncomfortable “rooms” or cells with nothing to sleep on but the floor and all this before they were summarily convicted of any crime, denied access most of the time of counsel, cut off from their families, and with their “trial” constantly postponed over this period of time so that even if they are ever set free because there is no evidence of a crime of any kind in any of these people, they will still have been imprisoned without a “By your leave!” with no compensation at all. Of course, I also wondered about the latest news from Egypt which inspires staring in disbelief, from events in Algeria and once again in Irán, from Jordan, Greece, from God knows where throughout this entire worried and worn planet. –Once