After a Firey Sun

Skopelos town. A greek island. Looking over the harbour towards the church.

8 October 2016

After a firey
sun had lit
the sea with a blue flame,
Corfu’s cozy port embraced us,
our ship’s nose nuzzling
the nuturing shore.

The way up to the town
was littered with construction,
buildings in the midst of being
built; roads, rough, rock-
strewn.  White and heat
clung to every surface
up to the edge of the park
that edged the biscuit-colored
building-crammed town, a town
gathered tightly together
against the piratical past, the price
of living isolated in a paradise,
where one could hide and never be

found.  Saint and empress found
refuge there, a saint, to this day,
venerated in the church,
up to either side of which
balconied buildings nestled,
balconies from which bougainvillea drooped,
red as drops of blood,
in presentiment of the blood
of the empress whose future
hid her assassin finding her.

The ways were crammed
with people on holiday,
jostling, shoulder-to-shoulder, at a crawl,
so many, they were like a long beast of people,
a drawing come to life
out of a Medieval bestiary.
The mood, festive, shops, aburst
with trinkets luring tourists,
we bought a gold-framed piece
of rude wood on which had been painted
a likeness of St. George atop a horse
appearing to engage battle with a confused
dragon in sea monster drag.
Ah, artistic license!

But the overdone sun,
and the people-crammed ways decided us
return to ship, lunch, rest up,
to set out for an excursion come afternoon,
the island a magnet to our psyches,
the island, absorbing our bones.

Philip Kuepper
(11 August 2016)

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