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Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday – Sunday from 12 noon – 8pm
Poem from Instagram Poetry for Every Day, edited by Jessica Atkinson and Chris McCabe, Laurence King Publishing, 2020.
Could you ever imagine
a country as beautiful,
a wilderness lovelier than this?
In its soil are the roots
of a forest, Dandakaranya -
Its silence braided by the music
in the silver-blond plaits
of virgin waterfalls.
There a demon from Serendip,
disguised as a golden stag
darts in and out
of the corners of your eyes.
A fleeting flash of glitter,
which steals away
what desire cannot attain.
Elusive as the wind,
fleeing with the sunshine
it leads you away from yourself,
the more you chase it
through foliage and undergrowth.
It is still said
that if you see the golden deer
you are condemned to seek it
for the rest of your life
and never find it,
though you may catch
glimpses of it, now and then.
antlers of gold
that snare the sun.
By the well of Thalmi, Ino my bride
come out of your house, come out in the night
with ship gods as well as land gods,
with bronze statues on the island
in the open air of Pephnos,
with the whiter than usual ants.
See the owls swoop down from the tower
on dark wires sure as death,
hunting in pairs back and forth
threading the night.
My mind empties around the tower
of Kapetanios Christeas and into the sea;
my old neighbour sings at night,
her imperfect beautiful voice
rises for no-one or the moon, Ino, for no-one
or the dark ocean wrapped around the world.