Short Fiction





At the first roar I turned
and left the labyrinths,
slowly retraced my steps
to streets where ever since

I've spoken in my beer
to anyone who'd care
to listen to a life
that almost came to dare.

You'd think sea-perils
and monstrosities of fate
would never visit a man
who stays behind the gate.

But lost among my books,
one night I turned a page,
and deep inside my head
a rock began to rage.

And in that flash I saw
the gleaming megalith
glinting limbs of granite,
perched on the ox-red cliff.

The face I would have seen,
had I sailed the Seven Seas,
the beauty that lies beyond
the Pillars of Hercules.

The voice I would have heard,
had I stayed out on the deck,
the heart-cry of creation
for those who risk their neck.

Now she comes some nights,
to stand before the mast,
preening future feathers,
tarring me with past.

The gaze is undeceived
and without compromise,
I read what I'd have written
brilliant in her eyes.

Know yourself, know yourself,
the oracles pretend,
wisdom is its own reward,
but, traveller, append:

If you stay in Ithaca,
beneath Penelope's wing,
the siren will destroy you
though you never hear her sing.

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