Poem of the Month, July 2014: Hydra

HYDRA

The blue sea Byron and my father knew
stretches away as far as the mainland.
Cruise ships steam in and out of the harbour.
Men of my age sit around speaking Greek
on terraces, worry beads in their fingers.

I needed to be alone for a while
and occupy the Hydra in my soul.
I needed the platitudinous waves
going nowhere with arithmetical
precision, solving Japanese ko-ans.

My foot-soles will never tire of walking
these whitewashed alleys and coastal paths.
But give me a bench underneath a tree
where I can be myself and disappear
off the map of history for a while.

June ’14.