(Expanded from the poem “Greek Tragedy” featured in the book “In the Land that Time Forgot” by the same author)
In Ancient Greece, so we are told,
Great hero’s fought the gods,
According to the myths of old,
They won, against the odds.
There is tragedy in Greece today,
So let this story tell,
Of doom, destruction and dismay,
And heroic acts, as well.
And as the sub-plot thickens,
With catastrophe impending,
You should never count your chickens,
Until you reach the happy ending.
Taramo salata and mythology,
We all know that they both are Greek,
And so I say without apology,
It is the former that I seek.
There is a place in Antiparou,
A taverna that I will not name,
“Taramo salata, parakalo”,
I requested on the day I came.
Mersina answered, full of sorrow,
The taramo had not been made,
But if I come again, tomorrow,
I can have salata, in the shade.
I went the next day, and the next,
But no taramo salata came.
Mersina told me, quite perplexed,
“It’s not my place, I’m not to blame”.
I do not want a fancy platter,
I only want a simple dish.
There is no taramo salata,
She has not even bought the fish.
Now it is a different matter,
As I will patiently explain,
“I want taramo salata”,
Before the time I catch my ‘plane.
Greek Myth and taramo are in season,
And I really want the latter
So I remained there for a reason,
To get my taramo salata,
The season now has ended,
In that place I will not name,
The season, now, has turned out splendid,
The taramo salata came.
I wandered in, just for a while,
There was taramo salata on a plate.
Mersina brought it with a smile,
I had only had four months to wait.
The village elders, on that day,
A public holiday did proclaim,
With a brilliant Lumiere display,
When the taramo salata came.
And all the yachting in the bay,
Flew bunting high on every mast,
Just to celebrate the day,
The taramo arrived, at last.
With Greek Retsina in a glass,
I drink to such a day as this,
“Your health”, and “Skol”, “Salut”, “Yamas”,
And “To Mersina”, my Greek Miss.
Nigel Mowat-Napier is from Scotland, travels extensively, and has been coming to Antiparos annually for many years. This poem is from his anthology “The Road to Far-Away”. To obtain a copy, send a s.a.e. (23x16cms) plus a cheque for í5 (+ í2 postage for each order) to Nigel at 41 Craigleith Hill Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland EH4 2JB. Tel:+44(0)131-332-9066. email: email@example.com).
Nigel has a new collection of poems entitled “Antiparos” which is a guided tour of the island in words, prose and poetry.
He will be in Antiparos until 5th October, staying at the Hotel Antiparos (tel 61358) and will have copies of this and other books available (local price 2,500drs each) as well as cassettes and CD's of his music (Afro-rock) recorded by Jeggro. This music can be heard on request, in Antiparos, at Yannis’ Place, Ostria, Corner Cafe, Doors, Fanari Beach Bar and Kouros Village.