Hermopoulis is the main port city on Syros, a sleepy island in the Cyclades. Today, when I should have been grading, I confess I took a detour and tinkered a bit with my Greek novel, sprucing it up. And I spent some time dreaming over these photographs of Syros, taken by my friend, colleague and travelling companion, Shawn Madison Krahmer Heal.
Travel The railroad track is miles away, And the day is loud with voices speaking, Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day But I hear its whistle shrieking. All night there isn’t a train goes by, Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, But I see its cinders red on the sky, And hear its engine steaming. My heart is warm with friends I make, And better friends I’ll not be knowing; Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, No matter where it’s going. Edna St. Vincent Millay
Photo by Elijah St. Amant As much of the world hunkers in lockdown, waiting out the coronavirus pandemic, I find my life has grown quieter and the small things--a garter snake in the iris patch, three turkey vultures poised on a neighbor's roof--have the power to sooth. That's why this poem seems perfect for this moment in history: The Peace of Wild Things When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting in their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world and am free. --Wendell Berry