Mytholmroyd Net

Carpe Diem by Glyn Hughes

    Carpe Diem

    We were dining outdoors on roast lamb, honey and rosemary.
    "Carpe diem," I said, sipping our
    moderately priced Chablis
    as the world rushed into World War Three.

    Once, rubbing in my hands a perfumed tinder
    of origano on a Greek hillside,
    and taking with a glass of water,
    at a plastic table outside a taverna,
    a joy that seemed translucent and transcendent,
    I turned to see the names of the un-selfpitying
    inscribed after a masacre.

    World War Two. It could have been a pause
    in the Peloponnesian Wars,
    as I saw with what insouciance the survivors sliced
    peach and apricot under names of slaughtered lovers.
    The young there stroked their muscles
    and the old massaged their thoughts,
    knowing – telling me – that it could happen again.

    There was a small museum, bright with sun;
    hens, goats wandering;
    artifacts of pottery, weaving, stone
    where sunlight and sea’s erosion merely honed
    the unbraked carpe diem of an art,
    bold, not frowning, not shadowed, yet
    carved in the pauses of tribal wars
    despite the wanton gods.

    The mind can tell itself: keep this or that in its cave,
    dark thoughts will be there when you want them,
    (scholar and priest will see to that)
    but not joy - not always.
    For now, to sit dappled in the shade
    of a blossoming tree is to be graced and blessed.

Glyn Hughes website      Email Glyn Hughes