Skyros, Greece

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Monday, 13 September 2010

Siesta on Skyros by Kevan Manwaring

the village is asleep –
curled into the folds of the hills,
sugar cube houses,
white against the dusty olive groves,
the pungent sage, sparse grass, fennel bushes.
Cats lay withering, scrawny,
all eyes and claws,
in hammocks of shadow.
Dogs pant, old men hawk.
Yah yahs sit on plastic thrones,
exiled monarchs,
eyes moist with lost kingdoms
coups and treasons,
traitorous hearts,
the splendour of the past,
memories brought out like jewels
Burnished with time.
Washing hangs like streaks of paint
suspended in the air.
Scooters, pick-ups
are parked on improbable precipices.
Television sets are gagged –
the soap opera will have to wait,
paused – as the village grapevine.
Even the Gods hold their breath,
take time out
from the eternal squabbling –
the sea respects the sky,
the wind and the mountain war not.
the earth is silent –
no tantrum tremors disturb
the monastery perched on the peak,
nest for black bearded birds.
The rooster no longer mocks the sun,
Even the braying donkey bites her tongue,
mute in her daily indignation.
It is siesta,
and all good Skyrians
are as stubborn as the ass.
The glistering shops are shuttered,
trading ceased in the market place.
Even the water washed down the steps,
seems to slow, melting glass.
Everything settles into itself,
stops for a while trying
to be something else.
The velocity of the world
Each moment
dilates –
a knob of butter slowly melting in a pan.
The riches of night,
the hoard of dreams,
erupt into day,
as the window eyelids droop,
villas nod upon sloping shoulder.
and Skyros succumbs
to Morpheus
for the masses.

Kevan Manwaring
Skyros, 14th September 2010

Kevan recently ran a two week course in Greece which consisted of Writing Poetry and Life Fiction. Kevan is a writer of fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction who lives in Bath, Somerset. Holder of an MA in the Teaching and Practice in Creative Writing from Cardiff University, he teaches creative writing for the Open University. See Kevan's website

To find out more about the acclaimed Writers' Lab on Skyros Island, Greece, described by The Guardian as 'number one of the world's five best writing holidays', see or call 01983 865566 for your Skyros brochure.

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