B R O N Z E A G E A E G E A N A R C H A E O L O G I S T
I miss so much my tranquil, sunlit, raised above the fertile plain Koumasa
And the majestic vistas of her breath-arresting mountain peaks.
Her isolated slopes and rugged beauty, far from being a mere tabula rasa,
Are full of myths, enigmas, history, of which she seldom speaks.
Her voice is soft and quiet, not perceived by all her guests and dwellers,
It can be heard with one’s own heart by silencing the busy mind.
She’s seen a myriad of lives and deaths, of stories, and of storytellers,
And many echoes, signs, and traces were forever left behind.
So many lives ago I wrote a brief and transitory chapter in her book
And here I stood again, spellbound by my faded recollections
And overwhelmed by the impressive scale of twists my journey took
To bring me back to her through multitudes of twined connections.
The quaint simplicity of village life with all its gossips, mores, and dramas
Is now a mere reflection of the bygone days of my forgotten self,
And dim-lit rooms with stone-clad walls, and herbal scents, and sweeping panoramas
Are worth much more than the most opulent and ostentatious wealth.
I dream of the melodic, chiming music of the tuneful sheep-bells
Which break the heated, dusty air around the setting sun,
Dogs barking in the distance and a shepherd’s crook that corbels
An open window shutter, and a basket on the sill with wool so aptly spun.
The spicy smells of heat, wild grasses, goat pens, and a baking loaf of bread
Are threads that join the Late Minoan days with these, most recent,
They weave the meaning of why we, archaeologists, disturb the graves of the forgotten dead
And bring them back to life, so human and so close, no longer strange and distant.
September 7, 2021
We usually get shy about our expressions
We usually get shy about our expressions
How much we truly value people in our lives,
We hide it or reserve it for confessions
And file it deeply in our minds’ archives.
We are concerned about sounding awkward
Or worrying to spoil them with our praise,
We always keep it for tomorrow, moving forward
As if we have an infinite supply of days.
We always think that they are telepathic
And surely know how much we care just from our deeds.
We get no training how to be empathic,
We’re very poor in judging people’s needs.
Sometimes we realize that what remains unspoken
Will never reach the addressee who’s gone beyond.
We bring a somber wreath as our belated token
When it’s too late to speak and to respond.
It’s easy to give praise when it’s deserved and honest,
It costs us nothing and demands no sacrifice,
It’s an occasion when one doesn’t need to be too modest,
It nurtures love, builds bridges and it melts the ice.
How wonderful to be in awe of their existence,
Elated with their mere presence in our sphere,
Share heart-to-heart or seek and give assistance
To those who are so valuable and dear.
December 20, 2020
Primeval, brooding Apsu and aquatic Tiamat
Once joined their life-creating and divinely fertile moisture.
Descending from their offspring, there was a majestic god,
The wisest of all sages and the strongest of all soldiers.
So lustrous and bright, too blinding to behold,
The god of gods, Marduk emerged in splendid glory.
Incised in clay, this legendary epic has been told,
So through millennia we echo and reiterate his story.
He conquered raging Tiamat with a colossal Deluge,
With thunderbolts which flashed as his all-seeing eyes.
No hateful foe can find a swift escape or refuge,
Whoever bears an evil heart or plots a trap of lies.
He’s the creator of all constellations and all seasons,
He set the sparkling Moon into her sacred dance,
He gave the universe the fundamental reasons
To breath, to move, to change and to advance.
From the celestial heights descending in a glowing light,
He built his earthly capital that’s worthy of divine assembly,
Where all the gods would gather, marvel and delight,
And feast in opulence in Babylon, so great and stately.
The Lord Marduk then said, “Let me create a Man,
A human being who will be an obliging servant,
Who will appease us, gods,” and he announced his plan
To clever Enki who was crafty, skilled and fervent.
To the supernal and infernal deities he gave a law
To dwell and rule in their domains, magnanimously allocated,
And mortal men were ordered to obey in shock and awe,
To take their burden and to keep them satiated.
The grateful gods said, “We shall build a shrine
Where you, o Lord, will be forever praised and worshipped
And rose in majesty his ziggurat of a sublime design,
And his extolling rituals were constituted and appointed.
“O God Marduk, you are our only rightful King!
Your reign will be forever sacred and supreme!”
And falling on their knees, prostrating, they began to sing
And chant an oath whose breach would bring a punishment most dreadful and extreme.
And in the starry sky Marduk has set his arrow and his bow
To be a stark reminder of his prideful and audacious triumph
So backs of prior gods and earthly men would bend in tow
And tremble in an everlasting fear and kiss the gilded feet of their goliath.
February 2, 2021
O Fair-ankled Muses
O fair-ankled Muses, sing your winged words to me
And breathe a friendly wind into the linen sails of my trireme,
And carry me across the vastness of the wine-dark sea
Into the land where Love in all its lustrous glory reigns supreme!
“Where is this wondrous land?”, my dear friends may ask.
It is wherever your beloved’s feet are measuring their steady gait,
It’s where your darling sleeps, attends to ordinary daily tasks,
Thus turning any humble place into a locus to revere and celebrate.
The land which your beloved’s gaze enlivens and imbues
With greater meaning, joy and beauty and exhilarating splendor -
This is the jasmine-scented land of dulcet lyre and rose-painted hues,
The land of flutters in your heart and winged words, so heavenly, so tender.
March 26, 2021
March 12, 2021
He gazed into the window, took an introspective pause
And snagged a sip from his worn-out cup that bears a duck.
The class was wrangling with a Subjunctive in a clause,
Some were successful in their quest; some had no luck.
The sunlight drew its bright geometry over the ticking clock
And lit with warmth the blackness of the dim blackboard.
As if inspired by its animating force, he starts to talk
And speaks his mind which has a wealth of stories deftly stored.
He quotes some lines from Dylan’s stark and gritty verse,
He speaks of blackness of the battlefields so drenched in blood,
He tries to pierce the meaning, see behind our lives’ obverse
And honor fallen soldiers’ futile and unanswered calls to God.
His childhood days spent at an altar soaked in Latin chants
Give no reprieve from feeling grievous tragedies of life.
And like a weedy bottom of the wine-dark sea, his heart decants
The sediment of life, its drama and enigma, paradox and strife.
He pours a goodly chalice aptly rarefied and strained
Through fibers of his soul which is so luminous and wise
And gives the class something of substance to be shared
As a communion of knowledge, guiding light and sage advice.
Some drink with ardor, some recoil, some – simply bored,
While others wonder what it has to do with Greek.
The most important things so often get dismissively ignored,
So rarely we give our hearts a chance to truly hear and speak.
"Who is this man," you ask, "of endless wisdom and renown?"
The one who knows the Iliad by heart and venerates its heroes,
The one who knows the etymology of any Hellas’ noun,
He’s simply Tom. How lovely that he’s with us!
October 22, 2020
I never want you feeling stuck with me or obligated,
I never want to bind you or restrain,
I only want you when you feel elated
Each time you think of seeing me again.
I can’t say that I give you total freedom,
It isn’t mine to give but only yours.
You’ll always have my love and caring when you need them
And you can come without knocking at my open doors.
Come as you are, upset or very happy,
Come when you’re down or consumed with fears,
Come with exciting news which make you peppy,
And share with me your laughter and your tears.
However, if my love is not sufficient,
I’ll help you pack to get you on your way.
Don’t stay with me if feeling something is deficient,
Go search for someone else, don’t think you have to stay.
Don’t think you have to stay when seeing me heartbroken,
Do not feel guilty, I forbid this very word,
Unjudged, say anything that should be spoken,
You are not bound in a cage, my freedom-loving bird.
And even when I cry I want to see you joyous,
On cloud nine with love for someone else.
Nothing should ever hinder us or stop us
From building life which we envision for ourselves.
December 22, 2020
We always smile and say we’re doing great whenever asked,
We try to be on board with “Focus on the positive” agenda.
We often feel disjointed from our inner selves and masked,
The messages of truth are either never sent or just returned to sender.
It’s not because we want to lie, to play a role or to pretend,
We genuinely do not want to be a pesky bother or a downer,
We do not want to disappoint our own family, our neighbor or a friend,
We’re also striving to be liked, fit in, create a pleasant and a nice encounter.
We do not want to seemingly stick out from the sea of “normal”,
Whatever the façade is that’s considered to be an accepted norm,
It’s easier to go along with the expected pleasantries, so nice and formal
Than to be thought of as a trouble-maker or to cause a storm.
Sometimes we don’t allow ourselves the right to feel depressed or sad,
We hide it from ourselves as much as from whoever is around.
Not speaking inner truth, we isolate ourselves, and feeling shameful, bad,
We leave ourselves abandoned and betrayed and trying not to drown.
Depression and anxieties have always very deep and very crucial reasons,
We owe it to ourselves to not dismiss them or suppress them with a drug,
It all goes back to love with no conditions, not just when our conduct pleases
Our parent figures, causing us to feel we have to be somebody else to earn a hug.
We are enough, we are exactly who we’re meant to be just as we are today,
Not skinnier, not smarter, not with a different shape of ears or shade of pigment,
We need to lovingly embrace ourselves and celebrate the beauty of our way,
Our way to live and love, not someone’s expectation or imaginary figment.
January 30, 2021
Between the Fertile Crescent and the earth-locked azure of the Caspian abyss
Sky-piercing mountain ranges rise as ancient Persian giants
Who spoke a language isolated from the rest and seemingly amiss
Which set in clay the deeds of mighty Elamites, both holy men and tyrants.
The fabled mother-goddess of this land gave birth to an abundant progeny of poets
Whose mystical and everlasting wisdom echoes in the here and now.
Their intricate and deep heart outpourings lit the world as brightest comets
And left profound traces just as seeds in furrows of an oxen’s plough.
Omar, Attar and Rumi are her noble sons who gazed into the secrets of this world.
They wrote of life, of men, of the divine, but most importantly, of Love,
Each chose a different way how their enlightened story should be ultimately told,
Words both as powerful as lions and as intimate as a most tender dove.
Those who don’t know the painful joys and blissful rapture of a lover’s heart
Are poor men whose lives are lacking true vitality and meaning.
Love is the core, the oxygen, the nourishment, the guiding navigation chart,
Love is the journey and the goal, Love is the ending and beginning.
Love doesn’t judge or blame, Love doesn’t strike or threaten even if it is betrayed,
True Love dissolves the childish pettiness of a self-centered ego.
True Love adorns our fleeting days more than the most luxurious brocade,
More than all earthly riches... Love is as elevating as a soaring eagle.
February 13, 2021
There is a letter from my newly found friend
Which speaks both to my restless mind and heart.
I read it carefully until the very end
And see a photo as its joining part:
An empty alley, and a glowing evening sun
Illuminates the fallen autumn leaves;
Its warmth and golden glitter - nearly gone
And yet the trees are not at all disturbed by this.
They cast their piercing shadows on the trail
As long blue lines which mark the travel route,
They beckon to explore beyond the vista’s veil,
To cast aside a hesitation and a doubt.
The ink-blue dark abyss of the approaching night
Is yet to give its comforting embrace.
With opulence of dreams and with the moonlight bright
It will transport into another time and place.
October 16, 2019