Today’s stroll in Kerameikos with a beloved friend was a great apocalypse! All those years walking around the place and never enter within. Wandering in soil, at last real, earthly, soil and not the fake one in the flower pots. At the entrance of the site the pine trees with chilly breeze whistling indifferent the voices of the dead ancient Athenians, tomb graves (simata), everywhere, Kouroi in the museum. Churches are blocking the Elfsinia Odos.
In the middle of the site, lies the Iridanos «King «intersecting graves and landscape. Galaxy on earth. Water running since then… “Water, my child” my late grandpa used to say “never forgets its root and route”. For millennia goes and goes and continues. We will pass away but Iridanos (think of Jordan –Iordanis- for the Hebrews, an absolute anagram in the Greek alphabet) will continue.
“To the same rivers we enter and we not, we are and we aren’t”. Rivers are the great routes of acting in the nature. “Bow: the bow’s name is life, though its work is death”.“The people must fight for its law as for its walls”.
These heretical, complex, fuzzy and cataclysmic thoughts of the great Ephesian Heraclitus as well as of Socrates’ who had walked in that sacred land fare welled dead friends, mates in battle and relatives, span in my mind, breathing freely though in the daily unbearableness and gloom.
Half stagnant, half moving waters from the Attica mounts run through the holy place. Though the dead were spoken…words that became thoughts for Heraclitus, excitement and emotion, for this city and this country. Our Patrida. Motionless Time and Space!
And then… I saw them. Imperceptible flying, almost static at the beginning, then change course in a fractal manner like Lyapunov and Mandelbrot lines in the attic air.
The Light! So much light that you stay speechless!
Sweet pinned odoured air though car crowded Piraeus Street is a step away. Silently and chaotically the blue Libellulasplayed hiding and seeking in Iridanos’ aquatic plantation, emerged life to this adolescentold River. Staring but not satisfied. That’s it! I thought. Greece is like the river and we wandering around him like the blue libellees.
That will be my emblem hereafter. Until Libellulasleave half stagnant waters of the legendary, eternal, the-old-of-the-days River and become what they meant to be. So many people and so many things passed from here [from ideas and mourning to bombs occupations and killings]. Accompanied by our rivers, our seas, our mountains and our humanity we will stay and persevere contra all odds.
Whatever happens. We know. Though seems the opposite. The Walls and the polis, that’s a cause to protect and live for.
Votive steles of heroes killed in action, new stripling lads with toys in the graves, flagons and caskets, another life with art beyond life. So much power, so much beauty even in sorrow. Leaving Kerameikos cemetery I remembered the other contemporary tireless of life and Athens. Kostis Papagiorgis in “Living and Dead” says “Always dead and corpses. All the hours and all the days. Infants and dilapidated oldmen, adolescent and untouched virgins fell breathless as if tumbled noiseless from the sky. They are lifted violently and dragged to mortuaries, placed in miserable drawers of the frozen death chamber, in order to be planted next day in the necropolis of their parish. A future dead each of us, walks around in present and helpless dead”. (Living and dead, K. Papagiorgis, Kastaniotis editions).
“This is my country gentlemen” as Seferis eternally inscribed close to Kerameikos. Glory and Gloom, both tight interconnectindedly together. Heroes and pionners of today, innovators in work and life eternally discuss on now and tomorrow. Debts and indebtedness alike blink an eye. But remember: this is not a terra rasa.