22 December 2013

After the final mountains we roll down to the sea

                             by Kelvin Corcoran

After the final mountains we roll down to the sea
south from Kalamata around Taygetos on the Aeriopoli road,
and this is meant to be the literal poem of that journey,
one of a series joining seven songs in transit
as if your whole life comes in on the glimmering tide.

The road turns in a certain way and you see everything,
along this coast where gods and babies are washed ashore
out of the sky into the doorways of abandoned villages;
you can pull up and buy oranges, potatoes, honey
from the last ones alive in unpopulated places.

In the meadows and olive groves myth takes root
paths in the hill lead there if you can crawl and scramble;
the snake renews itself and polyphonous birds call,
strophe by strophe in the month of fair sailing
the world takes off to a single tone breaking underground.

The road turns in a certain way -- miss it and you die;
ceremonies lift the earth people, gibbering at the edge
and the voice from the well asks -- what do you want?
The route is lined with bright and useless answers,
as if anything could keep us from the dreat descent.

Where the land ends Helen's brothers look out for us,
striding over the contours of the sea, they say;
as candid waves explode on harbour walls
a girl from Cythera rises, from the epicenter,

to leave us drenched and shining in shock. 

From Kelvin Corcoran, For the Greek Spring, 2013.

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