Thursday, October 9, 2008

Love in Pyrghos

I am in Greece, on holiday, until the 14th. By coincidence, exactly 30 years ago this week, I was also in Greece on holiday. I’d gone to visit a friend, Marielle, who had moved to a place named Pyrghos (at least that’s how I spelled it) with friends to build and live in a large communal house. So, for a change, I thought I’d simply reproduce a few paragraphs from my own diary (more of it is available on the Pikle website).

7-14 October 1978
‘The only flies I feel are flies, and the mosquitoes are the only mosquitoes, and a firefly is too hot to hold, too red to stare at, too proud to ignore. My body moves slowly, treading along pathways that maze around the village, along pathways that become doorways, houseway entrances, entrance halls; crumbling steps lead to crumbling arches lead to crumbling walls and rooves. My foot will (I know it will) disturb the grasshopper on the path that will spread its wings and reveal to a crimson fright, a crimson flight. My eyes will dart with it (I know they will, I feel them ready) to the stone or bush the other side of where I walk.

After a night of long white love, the acute essence of morning is a kaleidoscope of pure colours and sounds. Sea and sky blue, mountains with mysterious greens. Houses old and cold stone. Birds - the twitter tunes. The sun slowly rises and melts my perception or my imagination that might have come in the night. I am a receptacle for the slight sensations that will pass. The horn of the bus, for instance, becomes a sound for to fill the oceans and the lands as far as I can see. The swaying of a tree or the wind itself diverts at least three senses from the sea-wizards that dance in my head. My forehead furrows to capture, to catch a thought, my eyelids would prefer to fall and to let each lash be caressed by the grandeur of the weathers. My love is a momentary dance of tortoises, or is.

Nudity on the rocks, more than nudity, a bareness to the waves and their impressive depths, their heights and depths, the tunnels of rocks that frighten and leave you gasping with a little sense of magnificence.

Robert Crisp is blunter and more like a child this noon-time. He was a foreign correspondent, writer, journalist. He wears shorts and a bright yellow t-shirt; a napkin is tied around his neck. He sits, placed at a table for one, in front of a television; his head bent back, eyes enthralled. His hands play with a knife, fork, chips, a glass and a bottle of retsina. Here is age and freedom and the wrinkles that were moulded, hardened and set by fear. Any trembles he shows now are in the shake of the folds in his skin, not in his voice or eyes. He is fascinated by Marielle’s group, curious. He tempts the members of the group a little with his stories, or the promise of white beard wisdom.

It is four on Monday afternoon. I know it is Monday because two days ago it was Saturday, Friedl told me, and I know it is four in the afternoon because the clock in this cafe says so (even though the post office isn’t supposed to open until five, but it seems to be open now).

I am too high, too infatuated to realise the glory of this all. My stomach still flutters when I think of Marielle walking around the corner and the smile of a thousand nights missed in our separate flights, our different travels.

Morning in Pyrghos, sun shines low under the mass of grey clouds that appear so low. Contrasting against the white stone walls of the streets. Wind is expectant in gusts. A rainstorm is probable.

I awake slowly from a night of howls by sipping coffee. Above me rises a cobbled street; below, another runs to the church, and to the side another to the plaza. From the latter, a small woman comes, dressed in a black blouse, black skirt, black slippers and carrying a bundle of firewood on her back; it is twice as large as she. Away up the central alley a younger woman carries a similar bundle, but of hay this time. The wind threatens, the vines tremble, leaves form small whirlpools on the concrete.'

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