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  Nr. 124 - April 2009
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Paros Poetry

by Peter Abbs

Tonight at the Church of a Hundred Doors,
almost midnight,
And all lights extinguished, a chasm of darkness,

Then as the clock chimes twelve the huge door opens
And the bishop enters,
a single candle in his staunch hand,

Proclaiming as he strolls:
Christos Anesti! Christos Anesti!
And hearing his baritone voice and seeing the small light

We shout back at once: Alithos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!
And take our candles to be lit from the one flame,

As the flickering light threads and seams the dark
Now, you must understand I am not a religious man;

Hold no dogmas, receive no sacraments, bow to no hierarchies
Yet each year I find myself, leaning over this balcony,

Believing it all, a spectral child with spellbound eyes.
What do I feel exactly? How can I say? I hear the same chord

Striking my soul when I catch the first swallow zig-zagging
In from Africa. Or when I see blood red poppies blowing

Over the island's gravestones. Or when I throw open the window
Of our home to the Aegean breeze. It's why I left my home

And came to this ancient burial ground, seeking what I didn't know:
Christos Anesti! A myth for being here: the words for saying so.

From The Flowering of Flint: Selected Poems
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