Wednesday, August 12, 2009

To The Lifeboats!

from Summer Solstice

The white sheet of paper, harsh mirror,
gives back only what you were.

The white sheet talks with your voice,
your very own,
not the voice you'd like to have;
your music is life,
the life you wasted.
If you want to, you can regain it:
concentrate on this blank object
that throws you back
to where you started.

You traveled, saw many moons, many suns,
touched dead and living,
felt the pain young men know,
the wailing of women,
a boy's bitterness -
what you've felt will fall away to nothing
unless you commit yourself to this void.
Maybe you'll find there what you thought was lost:
youth's burgeoning, the justified shipwreck of age.

Your life is what you gave,
this void is what you gave:
the white sheet of paper

George Seferis

Complete Poems: translated and introduced by

Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Greek poet, essayist, and diplomat who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in
1963. Seferis is considered to be the most distinguished Greek poet of the pre-war generation of the 1930s. In his work Seferis combined the language of everyday speech with traditional poetic forms and rhythms. Seferis spent much of his life outside Greece in diplomatic service. Recurrent theme in his poetry is exile and nostalgia for the Mediterranean and his birthplace, [Izmir] Smyrna.


The "justified shipwreck of age" seems to have stopped here in Corfu. And I feel like I'm buffeted by the winds of fate. Where oh where, did I put "the voice" I'd like to have???

MY dear T is dealing with the aftermath of a car accident that happened on Friday. Everyone is fine. (As T said, "It's a good day when you can say, I didn't die and I didn't kill anyone...")

The accident involved a motorcycle and our stationary little car- but for the damage to our car (broken tie rod and three days of a rental car at exorbitant high season rates) it would seem that everything is fine. As T's car was coming out of a parking lot into the main road, even though the motorcycle hit our car- T is "at fault". It's especially galling as the motorcycle turned in towards the car to hit him.

Our insurance agent said that of all accidents that happen in Corfu, the majority - more than the whole rest of the year- happen the first 15 days of August. That should tell you something. When T asked the agent what could he have possibly done to avoid the accident, the agent shrugged and said that HE makes NO left hand turns the month of August, and he sends his family elsewhere on vacation.

The first person the motorcyclist called was his lawyer, then his parents and his girlfriend. The police tactfully did not fine him for not wearing a helmet. (Yes, it could have been horrifically a lot worse.) Due to what looked like the remains of a previous accident- he was missing a mirror and had a scrape on the other side of his motorcycle, I am guessing he will try for a replacement from the insurance company. T will be visiting our lawyer tomorrow to confirm that when our insurance company refuses to fall for that, he will protect us from any other attacks.


All this is happening on top of the regular insanity plans that we are coordinating with our son in Chicago to book his grandmother's flight from New Mexico to Corfu--- so we could then arrange our travel lives around that....

(why? you may ask is our son in Chicago doing all this? You would have to know my 84 year old mother for a better understanding of the answer. My mother's first choice of travel arranger was T... As T is almost as helpless online as she is, she feels he best understands her frustrations with travel booking now-a-days.)

The silver lining in that whole ball of mess, is that Bright Son (the middle child is SUCH a good organizer) has a marvelous travel agent who did all the work! So, Ta-DA! We have an itinerary and -as of two hours ago- it has been deemed acceptable by 84 yr old mother.

So T has now made plans for returning to the States to visit with his gi-normous and loving family of brothers and sisters (he's the youngest of 6!) as well as visiting our sons and grandsons for 15 days in September. He has carefully planned his trip so he will arrive in Athens the same day - and only mere hours before my mother arrives for a month long visit. (he better not have a delay!)

During my mother's visit, we plan on taking a "long weekend" to fly to Brussels so my mother can visit her sister and brother in law, and nephew and family. (her last visit to Brussels was two years ago, when we three DROVE from Corfu to Belgium! OK, hairsplitters, we took a ferry to Venice and drove from there. Shame I wasn't writing a blog then, such a madcap adventure into insanity.)

As with each visit of my mothers , there are many sighs and long looks into the distance with the remark "It will probably be the last time we see each other..."

We are all going together for that visit. (Yet to pin down: exact timing of Brussels trip! and tickets of course. the good news is that the "season" charter flights direct Corfu-Brussels/return are still flying. That service ends the last week of October.)

Last but not least, tentative plans are in motion for me to fly back to Athens the same day as my mother. When she leaves, in October, I fly with her and can get her established and checked in to go for her flight back to the US, (she's flying wheelchair assisted). Then, I can board a flight of my own to fly me to Chicago to visit the sons and loves of sons and grandchildren who didn't visit this summer (as well as the one who did!) This may involve a visit to South Carolina to visit favorite precious granddaughter in University of SC.

As I haven't been back to the US for a couple of years, it sounds sort of nice to just visit with the family for a while.

Basically we are going to be a bunch of jet setting old people from about September 15th til November 15th. (Why am I filled with trepidation???)

After my return, we will no doubt need to live like church mice.

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