In Kythera 2019. For Helen Carey.

We met on the Greek island of Kythera ( pictured above) in June 2000, and returned, for the first time in 14 years, this June. It was magical when we met, and it (all) still is. On the same trip we met Hera, but that’s another story, maybe another poem. But for now, this is for Helen, who has my heart.

How did two decades

All but a year,

Slip by?

Filio laughed and hugged us, even cried,

The bamboo drifted in the soft breezed warmth

You and I, beside.

The taverna table laid up for two

Where once I waited

And the taxi ( thankfully)

never arrived, instead,

There was you.

As the wild thyme keened the air,

The kestrel plummeted

Geese hissed in a dust bowled olive grove

and the first cicadas of the summer began to drum.

Bees, drunk hummed on myrtle sipped nectar

Seawards spiralled

The blue and yellow collided

Over Kapsali mountainside.

Near Mitata, the church tower split, stricken,

We walked a new path

Crunched ancient shells underfoot

Stressed from the strains of bygone volcanoes

Tiny flowers grasped life from thin soil

A goat danced, windwarded.

How graceful you were

As we spanned the unknown

Having walked the Englishman’s Bridge

Revisited a love story

Writ large.

On the island where love erupted,

Bloomed, prospered, sun soaked

No longer alone.

Mediterranean delight,

Grecian pleasure.

We wrapped it tight,

Flew north,

Made it home.

Now, needs must

That I guard the treasure.


In Crete we dreamed in blue

We had a holiday in Crete a little while back. The sea and sky were as blue as can be. The greens were equally intense. The kingfisher combined all these colours. The sunsets bled into the sea.

Helen and I met on a Greek Island, Kythira, when she was teaching creative writing. I was one of her students…I came home with the First Prize.

Helen Carey, this one’s for you.

(Oh! And hats off to Homer too! And a muted apology to the writer of ‘Grease’) 

IN CRETE WE DREAMED IN BLUE

It’s autumn

But in Crete the leaves are not yet falling

And I’m bursting with life

Olive grove glad

Back Home

In the land of the Iliad

We are here

Our 18th year

Greece, the landscape

Soaked in ancient Sage

Washed with Thyme

History beyond belief

And the nearly new

That’s me and you.

In our spring

Kythera was King

Oleander lit the way

Winding down dusted tracks to

The azure blue, Kapsali bay,

Hora above, gleaming alabaster white

In our autumnal , peacocked Crete

Kingfishers dripping jewels in flight

Across the Lake at Agir

Turtles stroke the tranquil waters at Koumas

Now, in the dream dented, honeyed night

My Cretan Queen whispers

Impish delight

“Greece is the word”

And I heard

And I heard

And I heard….


A hymn to Greece (Kythira to be precise) #2

I think
that I could live
live well
and long
in a little town
like Livadi
where the Greek coffee
at Rena’s café
is strong
and sweet
and where some of the men
of this small town
meet
to chew the fat
as the honey streaked sun
beats them
into the shade