C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

Succession

By: James Zaferopolos


The brook bounding from rock to rock descends

The holy mountain with a tinkle, with a chortle, with

The hollow echo of a dried-up cistern on

The hillside of an empty landscape

Through that stand of pines you see,

Into the rocky bareness beyond,

And plunges suddenly over

A rocky cliff,

Into the awaiting sea

That curls beneath

Your unforgiving sun.


Is what you hear under that blazing sun

The disembodied laughter of the half-goat god

Descending through that rugged landscape

To the final silence of the boundless sea

The nervous giggle of a fearful boy,

Plunging to certain death?

Say that it is.


The holy creature stumbles

As he rushes down the rugged mountain,

And the sound of his descent bids well

To waken any man

Who has surrendered to

The quiet susurration of

The few leaves

Still remaining on

Gnarly branches of

The stubborn olive tree

That stands alone

Where, suddenly,

The gurgling stream

Of tragic laughter

From that time-doomed boy

Jumps frothing from the forest wood

Into the barren emptiness

Of rock and sandy soil,

Where it emerges from the trees,

To make its final plunge over the edge

Into the anonymity of sea's

Eternal void.


The stream—the god,

If such he truly is--

Is sure to stir the mind as

Salty sea-breeze rises

From the sheltered cove

Like fragrant incense smoke

As, in the pungent mix

Of sapand salt,

A Christian priest intones,

“May his memory

Be eternal,”

And in the fragile craft

In which your soul is moored,

You mutter, in response,

“And life to us!”


And life to us.




 

James Zaferopolos lives in Cleveland, Ohio. He is a retired professor of History. He was born in 1946 of a refugee Anatolian-Greek family. His father died when he was one. his mother and he came to America in 1955. With the exception of four years' military service in North Carolina and on Governors Island, New York, he has been a resident of Cleveland Ohio, ever since. He has been writing poetry since he was a boy, in Greece, but only recently has he made an effort to publish. His work has begun to appear in a number of literary journals, including an item in Cathexis Northwest.