Write, Sing or Swim – Day 9

Second day of the poetry retreat, and it is time to get into some of the ancient oral poetry forms. Grab your iambic metre, stick to four-four and launch into some rhyming couplets of 15 syllables per line. These mantinades are such fun and can be deep or cheeky or satirical – best enjoyed as bouts of competitive call and response. Feeling like the origins of slam poetry right here!

We go to the other side of the island to climb to the Acropolis at Lindos. Layers of strength, decay and refortification on a high knoll facing the sea. The base layers, as I saw and touched in the old city of Ródos, have that same coarse stone mixed with pebbles and shells and are the layer most scarred by the elements. Later the Ottomans and Knights of St John added to edifice. The scale and purpose of this temple to Athena brought on a doubting in my words, thoughts and vision. What words could carry any weight in the face of these thousands of years of labour, of sweat and blood and sacrifice. Was there ever any joy in the construction, chip, chip, heave, haul and pray…

A long swim in the Bay of St Paul below the Acropolis lifted my spirit. My little wish to have company for ocean swimming came true as a few of us swam from the shore to the opening of the bay. Calm restored.