Sunday, 8 June 2014


(I'm not getting any progress at the moment on the flatshare-hunting; I've emailed about a dozen possibilities but have had as yet only that one response from the guy who wasn't really in Barnes after all, plus one very obvious scammer, who I've politely told to buzz off.  So to give myself something to do, here is a bit of poetry for you).


So this is the third year, and the thirtieth
That I have travelled towards Ithaka
And for the first time I have achieved my goal.
It's been a long dream, a long time since
That plump schoolgirl, nose-deep in the bronze age,
Dreamed of a modern Odyssey; nostalgic for
A home she'd never known, an ur-home, Ithaka.
This morning an hour past dawn I stood on the quay
And saw a dark shape across the water.  Tall and wooded,
Shrouded in morning shadow, a dream beyond dream.
Perpendicular it looked, looming, a high mystery.
No longer a girl's dream but the wild myth made stone.
The legend had bulk suddenly, presence of forests and cliffs.
We sailed east, out of morning, into the island's shadow, the night-side of myth.

It isn't only Ithaka I have dreamed of reaching.
Every home I've ever lost and every lover; every struggle failed
And all that are half-completed; all, all are Ithaka.
They have all loomed beyond me, like the great mysteries.
I can no longer count the sum of my unreached dreams.
Lately the longing and the travelling in my heart
Have both been reaching out again for the hope of love
And the road out of loneliness, the greatest
Mystery of them all; and today
I've carried the image of that love with me
Crossing the calm gulf of morning, to this island;
Carried him here in my heart to the one dream I have achieved, to Ithaka.

In the end, it was an ordinary beautiful day
Of island towns and landscapes and gold-grey stone
And the miraculous blue of sea and heaven.
There were no revelations.  Nothing
Was vouchsafed me, save the knowing I came here.
Arriving at last, longing, in my way longing no less
Than the much-travelled desperate Odysseus,
To tread this mythic soil, taste this strong wine,
Walk under these dark pines while my one day turned
From night to a sunlit afternoon, and my daydream to realised hope.
After all of my travels here, I held out my hands
And touched what was unattainable, and found it true.
No mystery; or, the mystery is still further, and still more secret,
Still shrouded like hope in the high night-side of the myth, and deeper than Ithaka.

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