Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ode to Santorini

“You came out of the thunder’s belly
Shuddering in the penitential clouds
Bitter Stone, tested, defiant” –Ode to Santorini, by Odysseus Elytis

Wherever I go, I spend a great amount of time trying to memorize the little things.
“You summoned the sun to be your first witness
To confront with you the impetuous radiance
To open out with a crusading echo in the sea.” –Ode to Santorini, by Odysseus Elytis


The texture of white mortar beneath my fingers, the smell of dust on an old trail, the fainted polish of a fresco, the taste of a street market apple.
“Close to the wave’s thud to the foam’s lament,
Among the Eucharist of sleep” –Ode to Santorini, by Odysseus Elytis

All of it is just so ripe in my mind, so vibrant and alive. Yet I know that someday it will fade, these strong memories that grip me so, will slip away into forgetfulness and passed time.
“When night wandered through the wilderness of stars
Searching for the testimony of dawn” –Ode to Santorini, by Odysseus Elytis


Sure, some things stick, the afternoon sunlight climbing up the Vatican walls, the braying of donkeys calling out at the Great Wall, the flash of surf rolling against our small fishing boat in the Indian Ocean, the taste of surf, but so many other memories are just lost.
“Queen of the heartbeats, and wings of the Aegean
With words that convert the infinite” –Ode to Santorini, by Odysseus Elytis


I hate to say it, but people are like that too, the flood of wonder and awe that we hold loved ones in is replaced by others and then another and then another and then, those first memories that meant so much, they are just gone too.
“With fire, lava, smoke
You discovered the great lines of your destiny.” –Ode to Santorini, by Odysseus Elytis


I hate that about myself. I hate that I let people slip away. First I forget their funny habits or their funny words, then maybe a smell or thier laugh, soon... even their face.
“O daughter of the highest wrath
Sea-begotten, naked
Open the glorious gates of man” –Ode to Santorini, by Odysseus Elytis


I wish I were better at that, remembering all these little details about a place or a person or some thing that happened, but after time, the blur buzzes away.
“Their wings spread wide
So that freedom may blow from all directions” –Ode to Santorini, by Odysseus Elytis


I'm left with this hollow feeling, like I should care, like I need to convince myself that I still care, that I want to return, see it again, wander its streets again, but then that place has probably forgotten me too and well, there's always some place new, and oh, what was I saying? You see, yes?

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