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Richard Gwyn, from Sad Giraffe Café

The Past, Again

The square beneath the plane tree seems smaller now. You have not been back for many years, and when you walk around the Turkish quarter, down the narrow street, no more than an alley, where you used to live, you feel the onset of an almost unbearable nostalgia. From the church of Agios Gerasimos the priest's insistent recitation mops the morning from the sky, the old PA a crackling soundtrack to a cloudless day. You know all this as though it were an ineffable reality. A woman sweeps her porchway across the square. Her back is turned to you, so you cannot see her face. But half a lifetime away you see Aphrodite, the fat hooker with hennaed hair, who leans from an upstairs window, yawning, and a group of cats who watch one another, tails flicking, eyes blinking in the sun. It seems the town is shadowless as midday approaches, and yet along the confines of the streets behind the old harbour you walk in shadow. You learned long ago that people who move stealthily act as though they always were in shadow. You walk with such care that you become invisible.