In our hands, you said, we hold
the shadow of our hands. I know
the cold absence of the marbles,
olives sprouting from the cracks.
The coffee grinder turns
slowly, gently. The moon
still kind, bathes our wrinkled
hearts in light. In silver. In sorrow.
Old souls sitting by the river
listening to the boat engine
starting, coughing, spitting,
dying. Starting again.
(to Yiannis Ritsos, in response to his poem “Absence”)
Poem written to the poetsonline prompt: Dear Poet: Epistles to the Poets. For the other poems on the poetsonline.org blog, please see Archive, ‘Dear Poet’ on their site.
Please note English spelling of the original Greek name varies (Yiannis [e.g. Wikipedia], Yannis [e.g. Poetry Foundation]). Wikipedia lists a number of variants: ‘Yannis or Yiannis or Giannis (Γιάννης) is a common Greek name, a variant of John (Hebrew) meaning “God is generous.” Variants include Ioannis (Ιωάννης), Yanni, Iannis, Yannakis; and the rare “Yannos”, usually found in the Peloponnese and Cyprus.’