My husband is Greek and we have a home on the mainland, so I have visited that wonderful country many times. I consider myself privileged to be there not as a tourist, but as an honorary member of a warm and loving family. The following poems were all inspired by real events, explained before each audio file.

1. Kalavryta (pronounced) kal-A-vreta)
2. Coffee & Ouzo
3. Diaspora

1. Kalavryta

This sequence of poems is about a wartime atrocity that happened in a Greek town called Kalavryta. I begin with a short introduction about what happened, then the poems are called The Man, The Soldier, The Woman, The Visitor.

The Visitor is me. I have been to Kalavryta several times and it never fails to move me, but it was my first visit that had the most profound effect. I found myself alone on the hill, as the other tourists were exploring the memorial at the base of the hill. I had learned a little of what had happened that dreadful December day, and a scenario unfolded in my mind as if I was watching and hearing the massacre and its aftermath. It was so overwhelming I dropped to my knees and cried, and over the following week or so I was inspired to write these four poems from different points of view: a man who saved his son; a German soldier who had to follow orders; the wife who had to retrieve the man’s body from the hill; the visitor (ie me). My husband (who was a young child living not far from that town when the massacre happened) subsequently discovered the story I had seen could be verified, and the next time we visited a statue had been erected of a woman bringing her husband down from the hill on a blanket, watched by her two bewildered children. I was overwhelmed all over again.

The Memorial sculpture

2. Coffee & Ouzo

Elderly men sitting outside cafes or on their own doorsteps is a common site everywhere. Many of them would have known the terrors of war, some of them may have been in the resistance.

3. Diaspora

This last poem in Images of Greece is more up to date than the previous ones. A few years ago we were sitting on the terrace of our house and I could hear a constant ‘tic-tic-tic’ noise from the house next door. I asked my husband what it was and he said the elderly lady, who was almost blind, was shelling almonds, probably preparing to bake biscuits, as she had family visitors arriving. My husband left Greece for America when he was 18 years old, with three of his four sisters. Hearing the lady next door made me think of how it must be for so many of the elderly in that country whose children had left for a life in another country.