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John Stocks

Another Cretan Paradox


And so it begins

Like some strange, long dreamed of day

Of cloudless skies, soaring eagles.

The old men, sat outside Tavernas, say nothing

Black-robed women squatting in the sun

Put down their needlework and stare at you.


How close to perfection, this village of mysteries

Where lemons are ripe, glistening in early May?

With its haunting folk music and Minoan mosaics.

With its light so infinitely malleable,

To highlight each nuance, each intricate detail,

Of the tiny, tremulous toadflax that flourishes,

In crumbling crevices of a Byzantine wall.

Or the solitary orchid, standing proud

In the long meadow of endlessly rolling green.


And, it his here, that I take your hand and wonder,

If a man who, by his own admission,

Has never known true love

Could find that valediction here.



On Falling in Love with the Girl in the Painting

Here is the pose, the chosen moment

The flash of languid insouciance.

Her sapphire-blue eyes so beguiling

And pale cream breasts that will slowly rise

Then fall, under the artist’s entrapment.


And could we perhaps have been lovers?

This girl whose thoughts are always ghosted

Encrypted within the artist’s stroke.

Hand on hip, for all eternity,

Her bourgeois life-style, her restless eyes,

Her ringlets, curves, all immortalized.

A brief, too transient inspiration

A mystery to her self and others.





Let us walk where the street fox slinks away,

To serrated bin bags, chicken scraps

With the detritus of the ebbing day

For we are tainted too, and we belong here.


And let us embrace the bleak harmony

Somewhere, far north of my half frozen soul

The edginess the parsimony

Where sociopaths and outsiders roam.


Then skulk down some bleak gennel that we know

And pass the girl with the film-noire face,

Half-dead eyes, last cigarette burning low,

Oblivious to the slanting rain.

Where we might stop and sadly speculate

Whether anyone will ever

Buy her flowers?

Or cherish the sound of her name?






another cretan paradox
on falling in love with the girl
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