Perhaps in the end there is only a great sadness,

not, you understand, the sadness of tragedy

nor that longing for the island you never reached

but a kind of wisdom, a sort of recognition.

Where water and sand meet

small waves trundle up the beach

The sea is breathing in its sleep.


Perhaps, ultimately, there is only a great sadness

as in the deserted monastery where the hawk's cry

sounds the hours and wooden beds await a visitor.

Empty terraces hang upon stillness,

within the chapel only ikons speak

and even they are puzzled.

Down in the village a woman keeps the key


Perhaps, ultimately, there is only a great sadness

where once the temples crouched behind the beaches

blinking at Delion Apollo.

Do you hear a creak of oars, flap of sail?

Wood from the island trees.

Bread from the island corn

Wine from under the feet of islanders.


As today at Vouna, far inland, hidden in the high eremia

this peasant farmer, no education,

tends his sheep, rabbits, turkeys and that great sow

suckling her piglets in the yard.

Hens wander in and out his parlour Dogs bark

then wag their tails - the couvenda getting underway.

Bread, wine and a red egg.

"The festival is good for the island

but me it fails to touch.

Up here under the mountain

who knows if the monks are good men

God alone perhaps and even he may not

Ti na kanoumai

emeis oi anthropoi"       


"We the people are never satisfied. Our Cross.

Restless, we fail to see the beauty in what we have

I have trodden my own wine No chemicals.

You ask if Geroundas the Thaumaturgist performed those miracles?

Only God knows - and even he may not.

This bread, you understand, comes from my own fields.

These hands !"      


In the end there is only the sadness of passing time.

The motor launch comes when the sail has gone,

aircraft follow the ferry boats.

As windless mills the tourists stand watching the sea

and one another,

machines not hands. Only the waves remain

so long as the crowds are small

and the discotheques confined.      


On furrowed beaches the running crabs have gone,

above the monastery only the hawk's cry hangs.

For whom do the tapers burn in the locked churches

behind the tamarisks?