NO PLACE LIKE IT
From Conversation with George Seferis
Since you died I have been living in your country
the way all readers live in the shadow
of other voices, the way that walking the streets
in a foreign city can map out a language of acceptance,
until there is no place like home because it has vanished
like an ancient voice. I pick over your books
and count off the landmarks when light on the sea begins
its deception. A whitewashed chapel, some burnt pines,
fade through the bushes. For home has its vanished author,
landscapes which unroll themselves from someone
whose belief in a place has itself become misplaced,
as a poem leaves the page and goes off with its readers.
Returning to my country I feel your mountains
should rise into sight, I pick out your language
from the chaos of sounds in Arrivals which merge into
Homer’s speech deflected by endless voyages.
A drunk on the Underground looks as tricky as Odysseus
and boys my son’s age are sleeping in doorways.
Here the weather folds me stubbornly to my own language,
sounds of trees, faint light that won’t stay silent.
|The Cave of Androutsos|
|No Place Like It|
|Byron's Albanian Costume|
|Visiting the Great Tree|