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The summer LA hosted the Olympics –

the year the UK miner’s strike began,

and comrades became enemies, and things sure

fell irredeemably apart – we went

on a four day tour of mostly ancient Greece:

Corinth Canal; the amphitheatre

at Epidaurus; Nafplio’s converted

mosque; the Lion Gate at Mycenae;

Olympia’s temples; Delphi’s omphalos.


Swallows had made their mud nests in the eaves

of the three concrete hotels we stayed at,

the birds’ tender flights twittering omens

for travellers who were, in some ways,

an air-conditioned charabanc of fools:

a sour couple, escapees from the Games;

a young bull fighter from Mexico

with his aging parents; three frat boys

from Berkeley; a well dressed Swiss family

of four;  a Nam Vet paranoid about

the Cosa Nostra; a demanding

Italian family of five; a nice

young  couple from Denver keen on Benny Hill;

and us three quiet Brits the Americans thought

were French and the Europeans Yanks.


As we ascended towards Delphi,

with Mount Parnassus beyond, we drove

along Kolpos Iteas, Bayonet Bay.

Below, anchored in its deep, sheltered waters,

were a dozen oil tankers – gifts which some Greeks

would come bearing again in due course but,

meanwhile, lay becalmed in OPEC’s doldrums.




© Copyright David Selzer

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