A Greek Island


Ancient Lady, Santorini,

Daughter of Violence and Heat,

Millions of years ago, you slowly beat

Your way through boiling sea

And greeted air and sun.


You won the hot fight,

Rolling layer upon layer, building land,

Taking a stand for deliberate living.


Legends whisper your dark past

When 3,600 years ago

Atlantis was buried and burned

By volcanic blasts.


Yet today, although you serenely speak,

Nothing is meek about your freedom cry.

You are Greek.


Now the warm, wet embrace

Of a soft-fingered Aegean Ocean

Traces the edge of your firm, chaste body,

Washing you forever clean.


Evenings brought the shimmering gleam

Of a glassy ocean

When far to the west

A slipping sun melted commotion

And started the red horizon burning.


White houses, randomly rectangular,

With celestial-blue roofs and shutters,

Pressed against one another

Like comrades at a party.


People shuffled through narrow streets

With enough time on their hands

To know where they were going.


Some sat loosely on docile donkeys,

Shifting their bodies with the sway,

Living in a land

Where clocks are put away,

Never needed to plan one’s day.


Brown, rocky Santorini,

When my own clocks slowly chime,

I will come a second time

And stay with my wife.

Then after eating and watching the sunset,

We will act the part of loving Greeks

In a perfectly white, blue-roofed hotel.


© Allen Hackworth 2000