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C.N.P Poetry 

In the Spirit of Seferis

By: James Zaferopolos

You hear the twitter of them, off, the furies, as they drift,

Descending to the water, slowly, like a flock of birds.

They settle down amidst the broken columns

And the statues, buried, half in sand, and half in water, where

The water sighs and meets the silent shore, as if

Those broken remnants of your distant past

Were trying, desperately, with waning strength 

Of mind and spirit, to bestir themselves, to rise,

To life, again, a life the furies haven't had, 

For centuries, been able, yet, to stir. Being stuck,

Through generations, in the sand

Of our forgetfulness, our stone-frozen old fathers

Waver under the trembling water, where they seem to

Leave but little recourse to the longing soul, but

To imagine what their silt-filled mouths lack

The capacity to sing. Especially to such a seven year old

Boy, like me, peering through rippled water

At their time-disfigured remnants that

The boy discerns, imperfectly, sitting alone, out on

The pier, at Thasos, where he’s come to fish, as he

Recalls,  fifty years hence, and more, trying to preserve

What in his aging mind, drifts further out to sea, each time

The  tide swells to the age-smoothed pebbles at 

The shore next to the slime encrusted pier, and 

Then recedes, until, at last, I should 

Suppose, the tide-worn consciousness 

Is washed away.

The closer that you try to hear the whispers of

The distant past, the more those vicious hags, 

The Furies, titter like cicadas in the 

Grass-grown field that withers in the blinding light;

The furies' twitter escalates, until it turns

Into a shriek, and the pathetic howls that torture you

Become some sort of bitter accusation.

Who can absolve the world in which we live today,

As George Seferis said, of these, the morbid

Sins of time and memory, the sins the furries thus accuse us of?

Who will there be, in time to come, who will remember

What has long since died, and now exists, frozen in stone,

Under the water, like a memory suppressed, if we, ourselves, can

Hardly bring to mind that past locked in the stone the sea has

Worked for ages to obliterate? Who can there be to come here,

At some future time, and do the heavy lifting of the stones,

To set the stones up, one on one, from where they'd

Fallen down these many centuries ago, if we, ourselves, don't

Undertake  the holy effort now, because we think we

Cannot manage it? And Then? And then, what will the future do

But try to grant forgiveness to the feckless soul for its complicity

In time’s betrayals, as it desperately replaces truth with fancy, and 

Invents a past that never really was?


James Zaferopolos lives in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a retired professor of history. He was born in 1946 in Northern Greece, of a refugee Anatolian-Greek family. His father died when he was one, and his mother and he came to America in 1946. He has been writing poetry since his boyhood in Greece. At 72, he is just now making an effort to publish. To date, this constitutes seven poems recently published in the on-line journal, Mediterranean Poetry.


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