Saturday, 1 January 2011
Poised between past and future
Between alpha and omega
Between failure and fear of failure
I rub the almond that we’d picked,
Unripe, in Agrigento, Sicily. Once plucked
It could not ripen. Hard in my hand
It lodges: a furred, green pebble
Now blemished black. The nutcracker
Had skidded off its hull.
My mind goes back
To that low ridge of broken temples,
Tumbled blocks of stone,
Lintels at crazy angles,
Weeds creviced in the rock,
Wine-dark caverns, olive groves.
At one cave wall we whispered and,
Incredibly, the echo boomed like thunder.
Were the gods displeased?
Or had the gods fled long ago
The lemon gardens of Agrigento,
Lizards flicking the hot stones?
We are not strangers, yet we were
Half-strangers to each other then,
Lovers lost in a stricken city
Of split columns, cracked entablatures.
Just like empires, we decline and fall.
Our glories fade like jasmine flowers,
Our dreams die with the gods,
Our empty promises
Useless as unripe amandolas.