Tag Archive | travel

Temple Athena

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

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Time change
Athens to Rome
Is it one hour, or two?
Ten thousand hours
Or rocket time
How many minutes to wisdom
Eons to Mount Olympus
Seconds of knowing.

Dry olives, thirsty cypress
Hard rock staging cuts into the hillside
Steep incline steps
White dirt dust howls at the Parthenon
Twenty five hundred years of time
And grit is still grit
Parched throats are nothing new.

Wind of the ancients blows today
Acropolis sand, carved from the rock
Gift of the gods
Limestone harvest, marble dust
Wind
Sand
Time
An immortal Greek chorus
Choked with fossil specks of ancient seas
Hair tangled with abrasive sand
Tiny follicle columns eroding
Goddess-sized pillars alike
Losing definition
Fading beauty
(Too much time is not good for stone statues or shiny hair.
Even the gods understand that.)

And flat sandal feet
Slapping the goddess ground
Slap slap leather feet
Finding purchase on the slippery rock
So worn, so weary
This sandstone perch
Higher than the city
Lower than Olympus
Cast in crippled revery.

Temple Athena
Where time is uncertain
Holding secrets of the ages
How many hours till one grows wise?
Is it an hour, or two?
Confused time
Airport time
Bewildered rock
Timeless hill
Forgotten goddess blowing away
Sad beauty
In a minute or two, featureless
Time change, and gone.

 

Foot Fetish

TRAVELS

We had a simply mah-velous time in Greece and Italy, despite the various setbacks we encountered. Okay, so it’s a little strange for me to have taken so many pictures of feet.

Feet at the Acropolis, Athens Greece
This foot was at the Vatican (why can’t I get it to load properly? Please touch your right ear to your right shoulder to view this photo!)
Tired sideways feet at the Spanish Steps, Rome Italy

Even feet need feeding in the Greek isles!

Very, very, very tired feet at the oracle of Delphi, Greece (no, I didn’t get my fortune told, the priestess was on break) Left ear to left shoulder, please.
Famous pigeon feet of Piazza San Marco , Venice Italy

These feet were big enough for a person to sit between (if we could have hoisted ourselves up!) Florence Italy

Young, happy foot (presumably the other one is too) Pompeii, Italy
Extremely old, extremely unhappy feet, Pompeii
Sleepy feet, Coliseum, Rome Italy
Balancing feet, Venice Italy

Foot of the goddess, with mortals

 

Melancholy in the Pines

 

DREAMS AND MELANCHOLY

Pomegranates

There is no good reason for my melancholy tonight. It just happens sometimes.

 

Melancholy in the Pines

I miss you
Umbrella pines
Pistachio trees
Green olives hanging
In front of my eyes
And cypress, so tall
And slim and graceful
An Italian dream
And the pomegranate bushes
Heavy with the fruit of Eve
Don’t take a bite
Vesuvius will open up
And swallow you
And keep you silent for eons
For two thousand years or more
And you’ll suffer for it
The gods are harsh
They’ll punish you
For being a strong and independent woman
Who knows her mind
Who wants a bite of that apple
That pomegranate apple
From that tempting tree
I can’t blame you
There is a world of temptation
In the olive branches
In the pines
There is melancholy in the pines

I miss you
Cypress trees
Unripe Greek pistachios
Waiting to burst
Pomegranate promise
Eve

 

 

It can’t rain all the time

TRAVELS

This jumbo jet is taking off

In the bleary rain
Shear be damned
It’s taking off
Into that wild
Looking high to the sky
Into the nimbus
Past those heavy molecules
Crossing the grit and grimy
Gassy ion particles
This aero flight
Seeks the invisible light
And the untouched horizon
Pot o’ gold
Red to violet
That vast array
Aurora borealis
Or bust
That sparkle in the eye
This biplane is outta here
Through the hung over sleaze
Past the sleet
And dreary haze
Of thunderheads past
Trip up, or is it down?
Either way
It can’t rain all the time

A Tale of Two Davids

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

I’d heard all about the statue of David, of course. The magnificence of the carving, the perfection of form. Its compelling presence. Michelangelo’s greatest work, perhaps. Florentine, uniquely Italian, yet universal. A statement of the human condition.

When I saw David this summer in person, right up close, I fell in love. It was the same with Van Gogh’s paintings in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. I never knew how much I admired and cared for Van Gogh’s work until I saw them for myself some seven years ago. One can read and study and memorize every detail of a photograph of an art work, but seeing it for real is a whole different experience.

The same is true about violence and death. One can read about it in the newspaper or watch the nightly TV newscast, and feel almost nothing. Over and over, we hear about war and battles, bombs and sniper attacks, until it seems we become immune to their true horrors. The biblical David was famous for his victory over Goliath. He epitomizes the intelligence of the Hebrew people. Yet he killed. Perhaps too much time has gone by for us to feel the violence of his act.

When my brother David committed suicide some 25 years ago, the anguish of it was too much to bear. All I could feel was anger. I held back love, compassion, pity. I froze out understanding. I couldn’t allow acceptance or any contemplation of the human condition that my brother’s act of self-inflicted violence might have represented.

But when I saw the David of Michelangelo, in the company of my sister who endured the same anguish and agony as I had 25 years ago, my heart began to open. In the presence of the master sculpture, I let compassion in. I tried to understand, and in doing so, began to heal. I waited too many years. I should have visited him long ago.

 

A Tale of Two Davids

After 25 years
I’m finally ready to talk about David

There are two Davids
One cast in stone
In the Accademia museum in Italy
The other cast into the ground in a coffin

David the rock carved of solid marble,
Form of a god
David the weak
Composed of decomposing human flesh,
Probably all bones by now

One symbolizes heroism
The other was cowardly
One slew the giant
The other slew himself

One had the intelligence
To outwit an enemy many times his size
The other had intelligence too
But couldn’t find his own strengths

Rock David is perfect
Cut from the stone by a master
Flesh David is perfect too
Perfect in his anger against himself

David the Florentine statue
Admired for courage and artistry
The world will remember
David my brother
Reviled for his inhuman loveless act
We try to forget

David born of the Hebrews and Michelangelo
Lives in beloved eternity
David born of the Hebrews Joyce and Herb
Died in despair and disgrace

A tale of two Davids

Trevi Fountain

TRAVELS

I’m home! Back from a fabulous two weeks in Greece and Rome. This trip was not without adventure. I will be writing about it ad nauseam, I’m sure. Meanwhile, here is a poem I wrote on the airplane ride home. Other poems I wrote while half asleep on the plane: Temple Athena, Athens Metro, Suitcase Woes, A Tale of Two Davids.

It’s good to be back, and yet, if any of you want to take me with you to Greece, or Italy, or anywhere in Europe, just let me know as soon as possible!

 

Trevi Fountain

I made two wishes at Trevi Fountain
Turned my back to Neptune, the watery colossus
And tossed in a couple of small coins.

Why wish for what I can’t have?
What’s the point, I think.
So I make my desires more mundane
Less dramatic
No utopias
Nothing epic
No riches, nothing Romanesque
No god-like dreams

Just regular stuff
Human wishes
You know.

 

Ancients visited

TRAVELS
I had the most fabulous time on my trip to Greece and Italy! Not without some issues (okay, we got robbed, missed a flight, had to sleep on the airport floor, lost my sister’s luggage forever maybe, missed almost a day in Venice, slept through an entire day in Florence, and my ears got boxed by a flight attendant – but who’s complaining?)
The Coliseum, Rome Italy – most beautiful sports arena ever
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The Parthenon at the Acropolis – Athens, Greece. There is nothing that can top this sight. I had the privilege of visiting this and many ancient sites in Greece and Italy. What a fabulous trip!

Ruins of ancient temples are everywhere.
Greek restaurants needed our business so badly, they offered free wine with dinner! Who am I to pass it up? Here I am (on the left) with my sister who generously sponsored this amazing trip. We ate well, very well – an understatement. Greek food is delicious!
Beautiful Greek island of Aegena.