Carpe Diem by Glyn Hughes
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 seas 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.