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THE PROMONTORY

At the landward end of the bronze age site

is a six storey apartment hotel;

right a broad sandy beach with amenities,

left, behind palms, cypresses and olives,

another hotel, vast as a cruise ship,

hiding the property development signs

in Russian and Chinese on the main road.

 

A peloton of young German students,

when we arrive, is being lectured

at the entrance to the museum –

an architect-designed, circular space,

subtly engineered into the sandstone,

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THE TOMBS OF THE KINGS, PAPHOS

The kings were interred within the city walls.

This necropolis – lying between the sea

and the newly finished dual carriageway,

The Avenue of the Kings – is a field

full of flowers this early April morning:

curry plants, sea lavender, hibiscus.

Carved deep into the limestone – a simple niche

or a house with courtyard and doric columns –

these were courtiers’ tombs. They were looted

aeons ago. Some were quarried for dwellings,

others used by squatters, outcasts. Mimosa

bougainvillea,

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ICONS

From the restaurant terrace on the cliff top

at Agios Giorgios, Cape Drepanos,

we can see the small harbour below,

its sea wall curved like a scythe and, opposite,

the flat topped, steep sided, uninhabited

islet of Yeronisos, ‘Holy Island’ –

set today in that special, placid blue.

Folk tales have Greeks, after the fall of Troy

and exiled from home, land there and build

a temple to Apollo. Excavations

suggest the sanctuary was founded

by Cleopatra for Caesarion,

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A CHEESE BY ANY OTHER NAME

Marooned for three years, Ben Gunn was

‘sore for Christian diet’. He dreamt of cheese,

toasted mostly.

 

Doctor Livesey always had about him

a piece of Parmesan in a snuffbox.

When he heard about the dreams he said,

‘Well, that’s for Ben Gunn!’

 

But we never find out if the ‘half mad maroon’ savours

the King of Cheeses. Maybe he eats it –

and wishes it were Cheddar.

 

 

Note: This poem is a slightly revised version of  part of REVELATIONS,

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IN CAMERA

The colour scheme, all of the fittings, even

the rectangular reproduction,

above the bed, of an abstracted landscape

that might be desert or water, sunrise

or dusk reflected in the wardrobe’s mirror

were exact replicas of all those

he had already seen in all the rooms

he had stayed in the centre of cities,

on the edge of towns, at all compass points.

 

There was always, however, one difference –

the view. Through the sealed, double-glazed window

he could see an empty office block

with one blind still drawn on the sixth floor.

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INSPIRATION

Turning down the steep lane to the strand,

I felt that tightening of the legs and saw

the hedgerows of convolvulus and woodbine

descend serpentine to the wide, empty bay…

 

…it might be a couple of bars of music,

the way the light falls, a voice in the street,

some words in a book, whatever it might be

it becomes as real, as substantial

as a taste, a smell, a sound, something

that must be made, words that must be written…

 

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