Tuesday, 24 June 2008


“He only lives, who living enjoys life.” – Menander

Some places draw us like magnets and make us feel a special enervating energy as we tread the ground. A sense of mystery, an awe, a deep-seated feeling of a diachronic present tense, which nevertheless is imbued with the import of centuries suffuses our soul as we walk though those unique places. One may sense it in the centre of Australia, walking amongst the Olgas or around Uluru. Or as one is walking through the Acropolis, in Delphi, in Notre Dame in Paris, or in Chartres cathedral. In Stonehenge or under millions of tons of stone in the Great Pyramid of Giza…

I felt this in my recent trip while walking through ancient sites. In Sounion, in Athens, in Salamis… Here is a poem that I wrote trying to capture something of this feeling of time and space as they relate to a special place of such a kind.

The Eleusinian Mysteries

The sun, wild,
Lashes without pity
Naked bodies.
The ancient marble lolls
Strewn amongst the pine trees
And the noontime silence
Is mirrored in the
Midsummer heat.

Somewhere in the forest,
Dense and shady,
A fountain trills
Like Pan’s flute.
In the heart of the mountain,
Deep in the rocks,
Sleeps lightly.

It’s enough to find a magic word,
A word both true and ancient,
And if you murmur it,
Twenty five centuries
Will shatter like glass
And crash in front of
The violet-tinged temple,
Raised from the ground anew.

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