Sunday, 30 October 2011

POEM: 'Visions Of St Gerasimos'

“be peaceful with yourself…”
the Gospel of Saint Gerasimos (1506-1579)

from Mount Athos
an ancient thing,
St Gerasimos hunches hermit in his cave
scrutinising scripture, while
those performing lesser tasks, tilling earth,
caring for families, bring offerings of food
so he can intercede in their spiritual void,
this land where gods
reared up new people
from stones and dragons teeth &
they were strangers without faces
& no-one knew their neighbour,
until St Gerasimos, glimpsing out
over rabbit-island towards Lixouri

now strangers, in shorts & shades
Factor 50 & samaria-water bottles
climb to the church in the cleft
built around sanctified cave,
for jest he lights a candle
sets it before the icon
mimes stations of the cross
leaves no donation, no offering
she laughs & is first outside
sun smote, he’s not there,
she ventures back over threshold
into sacred whispering halflight
no sign, just shadows, candle,
& deep within the icons
a new face, screaming its terror…

(Kefalonia, September 2011)

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