Each day a plaque of heat, fragrances –
thyme, jasmine, pine. Godsend of shade,
an offshore breeze.
In a patch of wild oats and dill
a bird we never see
occasionally says phsst phsst.
We’re perched on a hillside.
An unkempt olive grove surrounds
our small pool, a shelf
of concrete and water
over-looking the bay,
excavated into rock.
Behind, a range of arêtes and peaks,
cosseting snow fields.
Dipped into, passed around,
weathered and lotion-smeared –
there’s a thin paperback
advising us how
the beleaguered life
might be saved
by the prudence
of much maligned Epicurus
in his garden.
And one day offshore
there’s an aircraft carrier.
A man with powerful binoculars
saunters up the steps to tell us.
The crew, he says, are fresh-faced
innocent looking men and women
who visit the town, buy souvenirs,
eat and drink, enjoy the nightclubs.
The vessel glistens in the bay.
He holds out the binoculars, invites us
to have a look. Away from their work
he says they’re friendly enough.
In a taverna one evening
a woman marks on a map
a small road cut
into a mountain slope;
go there, she says, meet
the watchers, looking south,
who keep the expanse of sea
binocular-close, who record
Sometimes, with backpacks,
they scramble down the sun-baked scree
to the stony beach to greet
the strangers they’ve been waiting for,
strangers who scramble ashore
and stand and wait and hold on to each other.
Edward Denniston has lived and worked in Waterford, Ireland since 1980, the city in which his Presbyterian ancestor from Moatfarrell, Longford travelled to live and preach dissent in the early 18th century. Edward is a recently retired teacher of English and Drama. He has published three collections of poetry, a book of drama scripts and a libretto.
His publications are: The Point Of Singing (Abbey Press, 1999); Eskimo Advice, an ebook (Rectory Press & Hayrake Press , 2007) ; Interacting – 60 Drama Scripts (Russell House Publishing, 2007) ; The Scale Of Things (Salmon Poetry, 2013); For Crying Out Loud (Salmon Poetry, 2017) and Hospital Voices , a libretto with Irish composer Eric Sweeney.