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“The Ocean” is from Grey Warm Color, “Study of a Snake” is from A Fixation Point.

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At www.innernet.gr Greek speakers can read articles of Harita Mona about ancient Greek mythology and religion, as well as information concerning her courses on ancient Greek literature and on self-awareness through the study of myth.

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To order Neopaganism :The Rebirth of the Ancient Religion (in Greek) by Harita Mona from the publisher.

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Email Harita Mona

EmailDon Schofield

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For more poetry

Nikos Fokas


Translated by Don Schofield Don Schofield

and Harita Mona


The Ocean

I avoid the coastline like a shark.
When a bulge of land appears,
   like an embryo gradually forming,
   taking depth and perspective,
The details steadily multiplying until,
   as in Creation, Man appears
   at last, and human families
   start moving about
   endowed with cinematic quality,
Even before I discern an individual's
   eyes, nose or mouth,
Though I too am anthropomorphic-
   I take to the open sea.

From a secure distance
   the mainland is just another cloud,
Though looking back as I flee,
   I glimpse the phases of Creation
   in retrograde, the closer
Lost inside the farther away,
The more recent in the older;
In this way escaping into distance
   becomes a flight into time,
Until the signs of an antique age
   are all around me,
   as if God had not yet gone
   beyond the horizon, a life
Still bearing the imprint
   of apocalyptic scripture.

When waves are low, inclined
   to final submission,
   like scraps of paper hovering
   until held motionless by earth,
Or when with uneven
   momentary peaks corresponding
   to uneven degrees of horror
   on a spiritual scale—
When the sea possesses the dimensions of heaven
Or fits wholly inside a flash of lightning—
I see fleeting fins,
   tails emerging from water,
   disappearing tentacles
Like limbs in museums, elliptical, unintelligible
Parts of an invisible whole,

As if I were living in a time
   before Man,
Where the whale too participates
   unsuspectingly in some general preparation,
   waiting for an arrival that
   for its own sake shouldn't happen—for truly,
Humans, your faces in the distance
   empty yet of eyes, noses, mouths,
   as if half-finished or hidden
   behind a murderer's stocking-mask—
I don't want to see you close up.
I'm prehuman, a creature
Indifferent to calm or tempest-
Light in the Ocean, secure
As a floating plank.


Study of a Snake

Unredeemed this “I” not by its own fault,
Has been turned into an animal, more precisely
A snake, faithful to its species, a serpent
Giving, as long as it lives,
The same answers to the same
Inevitable necessities.

If a seagull, an aerial creature, all white,
It would balance its wings over the waves,
Its prey in its bill; if an ape—
Like a bird, never on the earth for long—
It would hover, half-hidden in the trees,
And scratch itself.

But as a snake (one more who at birth
Gave up its individuality to ontogeny,
So it must kill and reproduce)
It lounges right now in the March sun,
Loosely coiled because, like us,
Even when it's calm it's afraid—
Ready to skitter with sudden desperate maneuvers
Away from the impending stone of the snake killer.
But this time not in time—crippled already,
It breathes its last, its soul
Pouring from its mouth, a thick, runny fluid,
Yellow-green in appearance—
You'd think it was the color of innocence.