In the Mani, you are simultaneously
ant and god, an angel in free fall whose eyes
can range where feet will never tread.
Here, the works of men are small,
villages are barnacles where hills heave
like leviathans above the sea, and summits soar
beyond all knowing, and ravines
plunge headlong through the olive groves,
past white cubes – kombolloi of bees,
the hives strung like an abbot’s beads.
Cypresses assemble in their sombre robes,
a priestly order. Stone walls almost graze the cheek
in streets too narrow for a vehicle.
This is a land a race of giants might wax
nostalgic for – gargantuan, primordial,
another star, a site of awe: a topos
too syncretic and immense to comprehend,
whose lexicon and grammar
beggar human tongues.
*The Mani: a region of dramatic history and terrain
in the south-eastern Peloponnese, Greece.