Broadside #45 (Fall 2016 / 16.11)

Broadside #45 (Fall 2016 / 16.11)

Golden Light, Port Isaac by Maria Pierides

Golden Light, Port Isaac by Maria Pierides

Stella Pierides

The Path

At the top of the stairway snaking up the hill, a white-washed chapel and an olive tree. Blinding sunlight. Some way to go yet. The stony stairs are narrow, a couple of hands-width before the cliff falls steeply into the sea.

Slow down, there’s no hurry. Take a deep breath. Feel the rough warmth of the rock. The wind beating against it raises the fragrance of sage, of thyme and marjoram to the skies, erases the silence.

marble wings—
in the distance
windmill ruins

Feel the salt on your lips, the urgent wind tussling your hair.

This history book under your arm, so well-thumbed, leave it here, against that rock, someone coming after you might linger, take a look.

pillars of salt—
propping her foot
on a stone

And the pebble from Amorgos you kept in your pocket all those years, add it to the cairn over there, where the path widens. Let it go. The trail is moments like this, following the light, teetering on the edge of your desires, of your sorrows.

That bench at the top, see it now, under the olive tree? This is your goal. You can rest there. Wise, gentle Persephone will hold your hand.

embalming my tongue
I rest in the shadow
of the silver-leaved olive


Author’s commentary:

stella-pieridesHaving left Greece in my youth, I keep returning to it in my writing, visiting and revisiting the landmarks and landscapes of the country.

Time has a different texture in and about Greece. Sculptures solidifying the past appear at every corner, at every museum: looming, teasing, reminding. Accompanying us into the future. There’s no escaping the sculptures, the poets know it:

“… I woke with this marble head in my hands;
it exhausts my elbow and I don’t know where to put it down.”

Seferis, Mythistorema 


Ritsos approaches the sculptures from different, mythical angles, turning the people and landscape into eternal presences:

“…Nowadays, we don’t think much
about Theseus, the Minotaur, Ariadne on the beach
at Naxos, staring out at the coming years.
But people still dance that dance: just common folk,
those criss-cross steps that no one had to teach,
at weddings and wakes, in bars or parks,
as if hope and heart could meet, as if they might
even now, somehow, dance themselves out of the dark.”

Ritsos, The Crane Dance

In The Path, honoring these roots, I try to present this aspect of my Greek inheritance. I fail, of course, but proud to be trying.


Stella Pierides ( is the author of the full-length collections Of This World (Red Moon Press, 2017), In the Garden of Absence(Fruit Dove Press, 2012; awarded a Merit Book Award by the Haiku Society of America), and Feeding the Doves (Fruit Dove Press, 2013), among others. Her work has appeared in Blithe SpiritBones, Chrysanthemum, Coast, Contemporary Haibun Online, Frogpond, Haibun Today, KYSO Flash, Modern Haiku, Presence, Right Hand Pointing, and elsewhere. She project manages Per Diem: Daily Haiku for The Haiku Foundation (
Maria Pierides ( is a painter and artist living in South Wales, UK. She is a member of Free Painters and Sculptors, London, and King Street Gallery, Carmarthen, Wales. Maria has had work exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Machynlleth, La Galleria, Pall Mall, London, Creek Creative, Faversham,The Somerset Maughan Gallery, Whistable, The Fish Slab Gallery, Whistable, Parallax AF Art Fair, Chelsea Town Hall, London, among other venues. Having completed a residency at Stiwdio Maelor in Corris, Wales, in 2015, Maria now volunteers there to help provide opportunities and exposure to other artists.


About bluefifthreview

Blue Fifth Review, edited by Sam Rasnake, Michelle Elvy, and Bill Yarrow, is an online journal of poetry, flash, and art.
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2 Responses to Broadside #45 (Fall 2016 / 16.11)

  1. Pingback: ‘The Path’ | Stella Pierides

  2. Pingback: Archives for 2016 | Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook Series

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