A rain-front, black as the local wine,
A drift of late spring snow glittering,
Climbed the peaks above Pera Pedi.
Its inundations left conifers
Spangled in beads of diamond water,
The roots of antique olive groves
Keeping the washed landscape intact.
Wandering through these weathered streets,
Sometimes the chalky limestone seeps
Conversation and the spiced aroma
Of family victuals at evening,
Theodorakis’s music welling,
Jewelled peacocks echoing in the valley.
On a mountain outside Lachi,
The grotto of Aphrodite’s Bath
Looks towards the Ottoman north.
The rising moon is a scimitar.
Above Kyrenia’s limestone harbour,
Arid gullies full of bird-song,
The dapple of mountain butterflies
Is a kite-tail on the blue thermal.
And tattooed on the stony landscape—
A stand of purple rock-roses.
In a shaded cliff-face’s fertile clefts,
Aromatic herbs and shrubs blossom
Beneath the castle of St Hilarion,
Thriving against the ruins of History.
By a highway leaving Limassol,
An elderly Greek, in shirt and tie,
Searches through the flinty scrub
For wild herbs and fragrant grasses,
Garnishes to an afternoon meal.
The nearby Roman ruins flute
And billow, full of ancient wind.
The endless hand-stacked slate slab fences,
Defining the vineyard’s steep vectors,
And neatly hemming the carob groves,
Embody a callused labour of lives,
A prodigious ordering of the stones.
They hold the high hillsides back.
A group of vineyard workers,
Full of wine and goat meat,
Children joining their arabesques,
Dance in the crowded café.
One places his mobile phone
On a roughly hewn table.
They sing joyously into it,
For a friend in a hospital ward,
Cut off from all this life.