Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Special edition featuring poets from Australia & New Zealand.
Matina Doumos was born and raised in Melbourne though now lives mostly in Greece, where she works in the organic agriculture sector. As well as writing poetry she has translated various texts and poems from Greek into English, and also written articles of botanical interest. Recently her poems and translations have been published in Hecate Journal , Southerly, Antipodes (a Global Journal of Australian/New Zealand Literature), and Antipodes (Journal of the Greek Australian Cultural League).
The tunnel exits where Middle-Earth begins,
and if the sky seemed harsher long ago,
the shallow vineyards shadowless beneath
a hammerhead of light, if the hills bared
patched and broken flanks, sordid from
misuse; blame it on my eyes. For since
this love never chosen was granted,
I see a face made only lovelier by tears.
The Freeway hurtles on. Blank-masked now
her monstrous guards salute, still faithful
to a vision, erased but not forgotten;
their rusting limbs gesticulate and moan
as I walk past. How grass will crackle underfoot
I know, how thistles bend to whip back with
a vengeance; how colored plastic cartridge
shells will litter the birdless terrain.
And the rocks I will stumble on, stones
that still wear, as abandoned dogs do,
the touch of human hands. Each marks
a territory no one returns to; a place where
earth unleashes her litany in spring,
unheard above the traffic. I watch as a scrap
of flotsam flies free on transitory wings,
and know my journey’s end can be no other.
The wicks, the wax, the smiling monk,
dipping one into the other, making tapers.
They smell of honey; light one,
and become a golden icon I could worship.
See how the wax cleaves to its wick
with body, mind and soul? This is the monk.
And the flame that licks at darkness’ shore,
his lion rampant of desire. O my darling
terra incognita, a taper for your coin,
awaits you on the wooden warden’s pew;
the monk will make ten thousand more,
and each one leave embossed in gold,
a form, a face, two honey-scented hands,
a kiss upon the goblin walls of time.
So light one, let it puddle in the sand;
see how the bee comes foraging? This is me.
the thorn tree is home
to countless creatures.
Flocks of stars
shattered by time
roost in her branches
before journeying on.
For the man who hung
in her jealous shade
some say she dyed
her petals red;
that wicked as
the sun is cruel
she’ll tolerate no
other of her kind.
© Matina Doumos