John Grey: “Corfu”


Distant mountains
lie barren and stony,
still as the dead.

Closer to the eye,
towering rock cliffs
come alive
with soaring peregrine falcons.

Among the almond and walnut trees,
lungs inhale and appreciate
air that sweeps in from the ocean,
salty and sharp.

Fresh water’s not forgotten here.
It spurts from red and gray rocks,
clear and clean,
with no instructions bar sipping.

Myrtle grows thick and wild,
its flowers like spiders of snow.
A strawberry bush
overflows with fruit
and a battalion of
a two-tailed pasha butterflies.

But the olive tree is king,
five centuries old in some places
and bent and arthritic to prove it.
Resilience, fertility and regeneration,
gnarled and twisted like a Van Gogh painting –
such is the pitted, ungainly trunk of life.

The sand dunes are my true asylum.
Salt marshes on one side,
lapping Mediterranean waves on the other.
I stroll between acres of creaking rustling bamboo
and foaming whitecaps.
A minor event
as cures often are to other people.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review, and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East, and Midwest Quarterly.

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