Heartbreak in Italian

Agios Markos

14th August 2019

I heard someone’s heart break last night – in Italian. 

I didn’t understand a word, but I understood the pain.

She sobbed and choked and turned her heart into syllables of agony with a rhythm and beat of emotion as she drew breath and again sent out words from a well of grief.

In the middle of the night, no other sound, but her phone call of despair.

Like an Italian aria, whose words you don’t know but  understand completely.

After a long time, she calmed and the gaps between the sobs were longer and I fell back to sleep.

Next morning someone threw a cigarette butt down from the balcony above. 

I called up from my garden and the voice that came back was the voice from the night before – ‘sorry’.

She was with friends, she was having a cigarette. She was okay.

Singing and Plastic

Agios Markos

10th August 2019

Where I hear life as I lie on my bed. 

Women calling out to one another  how are you? How are the children? Are you going swimming?

Where at the local minimarket I  see an old woman sitting on a plastic chair in the cafe with plastic walls singing old traditional tunes with no accompaniment. Men murmur their approval when she stops and children stare fascinated wondering when they will get an ice cream or a sweet.

Where a grandfather swings his grandchild on a plastic swing on the terrace between the lanes and sings in his lilting, rich voice a melody full of love and childish rhymes. The child joins in on the familiar words in an innocent warble to the delight of his serenader and it all ends in joy and laughter.

Community life at the cafeneion
Yiayias (grandmothers) talking