Acrocorinth

Hello Flying Islanders!

I’m very excited to have been warmly welcomed into this community and blogosphere as an honorary member after launching Steve Armstrong’s latest pocket book of poetry What’s Left.

I’m a poet, and emerging literary critic, living on Darkinjung country on the Central Coast of NSW. My chapbook, A Fistful of Hail, was published by Vagabond Press in 2018.

Here’s a poem from that collection, which inspired the title:


Acrocorinth

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed…

Psalm 128:2

Time has scalloped and tightly crimped

the hill’s stone — all the troughs

and rifts of its flanks studded

with cypress, laurels. The Acrocorinth

juts into wind above the yellowed vineyards

and timber pig-sheds, the fish

like wands of garnet or black-spotted quartz

carving the shallows at Vrahati beach.

My grandfather’s people

coaxed

clusters of bitter-and-sweet jade fruit

from the vines, while time – like a god’s

hand on the hill – tapped off seams

of limestone with the rain’s pick, or pounded out

trenches with fistfuls of hail, lightning.

In the village, pines drip

resin in the brush. I walk

dirt tracks where hens pace for seed. In dusty

gardens, in olive groves, the goats swank

oily beards, the hammered scrolls

of horns, gnashing thyme thickets — the Acrocorinth

pale as whey to the south. From here

I make out the old acropolis extruding

from the hill like blunted teeth; I probe,

till my eyes ache, for Aphrodite’s

temple, nesting somewhere in the high

ridges. The Corinthian Gulf flickers

down a north-east road, and I know

this evening the sun will strut there like a peacock

trailing long feathers across

the water. Soon, I’ll walk back

to my great uncle’s house.

He’ll empty wine from a barrel.

He’ll tell me stories of his brother’s fist.

I’ve seen the x-rays — my mother’s

dented wrist, forearm — all the fractured

bones. And I’ll think of those hands,

coaxing, on the vines; and I’ll think of a god

with a fistful of hail. I’ll drink

the cool, bitter pink liquid, and currents

of sweetness will twist

through each mouthful.

Acknowledgments

‘Acrocorinth’ was first published in Philament Journal — Precarity, Vol. 22 December 2016; and appeared in The Best Australian Poems 2017.