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The thirteenth century’s major earthquake

resulted in a tsunami that buried

a bishop and his congregation, razed

the castle – a Byzantine fort – broke

the Roman breakwater, leaving rocks

like cracked teeth, rendered the harbour useless

for sea going vessels and reduced this once

capital city to a fishing village

which the odd traveller would visit

for the lustrous mosaics nearby.


On the corniche, watched by strolling tourists

and two armed Port & Marine policemen,

museum attendants on their lunch break

and taxi drivers between fares line fish.

The breakwater is like a uneven row

of shark fins against the silver waters.


The Greek Colonels invaded Cyprus,

in my thirties, then the Turkish ones. Atrocities

were committed, old neighbourhoods deserted.

In my youth, near here, in a villa

with a high white walled garden, British

Military Intelligence attempted

to deter young would-be terrorists

and waterboarded Cypriot teenagers.

The impromptu fishermen reel in

occasional gilt head bream and red mullet.

Whoever holds the rod, it seems, or pen

gets to make history.




© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Sarah Selzer
    April 27, 2018

    As always, your evocative lines also prompt a desire to learn more!!

  • Tzigane
    April 29, 2018

    Thoughtful, a wonderful blend of history, installed with the anguish and pain of earlier times. Thank you, David

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