The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

Recycling is good, right?

Well folks, I did serve my time on NaPoWriMo today but the result was nothing to blog home about. So instead, I’m going to file it under ‘time not wasted, but poem not worth sharing’ and instead share a previously published one from my book Navigation. Since the book’s out of print I reckon this is forgiveable – I’m putting an old but serviceable poem back in the public eye!

This was written after a summer working in Greece, during my former life as a professional archaeologist. My father was dangerously ill at the time – though he pulled through – and the monastery which we were using as our field base was a source of much-needed calm and quiet.

Panagia Monastery

We had been singing.
Back to base at Panagia,
the Transit bumping dusty up the track
and Stevie Wonder playing
till we reached the gates, and felt irreverent.

The hot day settled silently
like coffee dregs in thick-rimmed cups
into a dusty twilight, with its crickets
and its sleepy birds.
The small-leaved herbs began to breathe.

Siesta, then a gathering
around the scrubbed wood table.
Fig leaves by candlelight,
‘Lamplighter’ gin and dolmades;
the dusty scoop of kittens at the door.

The monks, the serious
young bearded monks, scuffed quietly
into the glittering chapel
and began to sing.

I drank and breathed, and stumbled
for the bathroom. Instead
I found the yard; amazed, but not surprised
to find the room filled with a high dark music,
and with stars.

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This entry was posted on April 3, 2012 by in Readings and writings, Writing exercises.
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