Poem of the Week #14: On Ithaca Standing (Lawrence Durrell)

Continuing the Ithaca theme…

On Ithaca Standing (Lawrence Durrell)

Tread softly, for here you stand
On miracle ground, boy.
A breath would cloud this water of glass,
Honey, bush, berry and swallow.
This rock, then, is more pastoral than
Arcadia is, Illyria was.

Here the cold spring lilts on sand.
The temperature of the toad
Swallowing under a stone whispers: ‘Diamonds,
Boy, diamonds, and juice of minerals!’
Be a saint here, dig for foxes and water,
Mere water springs in the bones of the hands.

Turn from the hearth of the hero. Think:
Other men have their emplems, I this:
The heart’s dark anvil and the crucifix
Are one, have hammered and shall hammer
A nail of flesh, me to an island cross,
Where the kestrel’s arrow falls only,
The green sea licks.

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