Three Poems

By Paul Holler



On an afternoon in May

by an open window

of an old hotel

on the Plaka

an Elytis poem

sings of church bells

tolling a past hour

while other bells

toll this hour

at the foot

of the Acropolis

where ancient

marble-faced women

speak of past lives

and bow their heads

to their orange-vested daughter

who wears her hair

in a braided diadem

and bows her head

to the street

she sweeps




The story goes

that Joan of Arc

prayed in this stone chapel                  

years before it fell to ruin

was brought down and

brought to this place

to rise again

its floors worn smooth

by the footsteps of generations

its columns rising up

and flaring out

forming a dome

fashioned by hands

and darkened by ash

to gather the prayers

and whispered words

of those on their knees

and those standing and looking upward

in the curved light of windows

fashioned by hands.




Perhaps a day will come

when you awake

to a snowfall

stitched with tracks in

a design you know

from a time



And perhaps on that day

mountains will part

for the sun

flooding the valley and

filling seedlings

long dormant

from a time

long ago


And perhaps one day

far from today

you will walk

that valley

beneath a

very old canopy

and track the design

of unknown footsteps

beneath your own


And perhaps on that day

you will remember them