The olive seems to root in the stone,
The hard wood twisting down; it is her tree:
Her bronze face shifts its colour as leaves turn.
See how her robes in time have grown
So frail, they might seem dry enough to burn,
Such fragile metal, flaked and stained where she
Lay centuries beneath the ground.
But now those swelling folds have met the light
Still blurred with mud which masks her attributes,
To gaze at her, and smoke, and scrape their boots.
The one whose spade first touched her knows it might
Mean money, maybe a new dress
To soothe his wife. And so he makes his cross
To the All-
This dim archaic holiness
With its blotched staring corpse’s face
Still holds a power of gain or loss
He gives her equal reverence.
Later he comes home drunk and beyond care
Shouting a girl’s name, with a bleeding hand,
Then weeping and not making sense.
Unstirred, remote, his wife and mother stand
With neither blame nor pity in their stare.
|The Cave of Androutsos|
|No Place Like It|
|Byron's Albanian Costume|
|Visiting the Great Tree|