In the Manner of G. S.
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IN THE MANNER OF G. S. Wherever I travel Greece wounds me. On Pelion among the chestnut trees the Centaur's shirt* slipped through the leaves to fold around my body as I climbed the slope and the sea came after me climbing too like mercury in a thermometer till we found the mountain waters. On Santorini touching islands that were sinking* hearing a pipe play somewhere on the pumice stone my hand was nailed to the gunwale by an arrow shot suddenly from the confines of a vanished youth. At Mycenae I raised the great stones and the treasures of the house of Atreus and slept with them at the hotel "Belle Helene"; they disappeared only at dawn when Cassandra crowed, a cock hanging from her black throat. On Spetses, Poros, and Mykonos* the barcaroles sickened me. 58 What do they want, all those who believe they're in Athens or Piraeus? Someone comes from Salamis and asks someone else whether he comes "from Omonia Square?" "No, from Syntagma," replies the other; pleased;* "I met Yianni and he treated me to an ice cream." In the meantime Greece is traveling and we don't know anything, we don't know we're all sailors out of work, we don't know how bitter the port becomes when all the ships have gone; we mock those who do know. Strange people! they say they're in Attica but they're really nowhere; they buy sugared almonds to get married they carry hair tonic, have their photographs taken the man I saw today sitting against a background of pigeons and flowers let the hands of the old photographer smooth away the wrinkles left on his face by all the birds in the sky. Meanwhile Greece goes on traveling, always traveling and if we see "the Aegean flower with corpses"* 59 it will be with those who tried to catch the big ship by swimming after it those who got tired waiting for the ships that cannot move the ELSI, the SAMOTHRAKI, the AMVRAKIKOS. The ships hoot now that dusk falls on Piraeus, hoot and hoot, but no capstan moves, no chain gleams wet in the vanishing light, the captain stands like a stone in white and gold. Wherever I travel Greece wounds me, curtains of mountains, archipelagos, naked granite. They call the one ship that sails AG ONIA 937. M/S Aulis, waiting to sail. Summer 1936 60 ...



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