To Climb

from Latin ascendere: to rise. Ah! – worn down Delos,
you lie in the late sun, comatose. A million tourists
have zoomed in with their iPads and cameras
to snap your soul. At the end of the hottest summer,
as hotels and tavernas start to close, we return, climb,
rise slowly through burnt poppies, thistles,
parched grass. Apollo, Sol, Medicus, I would honour you
but after two thousand years only the lizards remain loyal,
your darting sentinels, as the eye of civilisation blurs.
At the top of the sacred moutain I gaze far across
blue shimmering water-tracks to the ancient past:
Paros, Naxos, Crete. And can envisage no future, no ascent,
no over-arching light. So I stack three stones: prayer
to no god on wind-scarred rocks, self-perplexing aporia.


Peter Abbs is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Sussex. He is the
author of a number of books on aesthetic education and eleven volumes of poetry. The most recent Voyaging Out was published by Salt in 2009.

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