This poem was published in the Big Pond Rumours ezine, summer 2006. It won second Prize in the Big Pond Rumours Poetry Competition.
I wrote it for Tania and Jaque’s house-warming party and it is dedicated to them.
If Trees, Then Olive Trees
You ploughed the seas. You crossed the skies. Saw the shipwrecks. Gathered
your wealth in words. Then, like Odysseus seeing the smoke rising, you decided
to become trees. To grow roots, you wrote. To grow. And while the bulldozers
work round you, while the Fates, the Wars, the Envious, the Arrogant,
lay siege to you, as they always do and always will, remember to stand your ground
like thousand year-old olives, twisting golden brown trunks and holding hands. Expand,
burrow deeper and fashion a silky smooth quilt, a glowing oil lamp, a warming hearth,
a spacious kitchen, a deep well and a cool, vine-clad terrace.
Odyssey is a memory. A treasure and a well-kept secret. Your home always yearned
for you. Your olive-tree bed rooted to the ground. Penelope with outstretched
arms will hug you. The lyre and the xylophone. The drum and the flute will lead you.
And you will dance, and dance and sing the life she could only dream of.
And if, like the man of old, you find your journey not yet over,
embark on each new voyage with zest. Plan each trip in language,
build your boats with words. Thread your sails with rays from your joyous souls.
And for fuel, for fuel employ the subtle beating of your hearts.