A timely photo maybe, with today being Good Friday, but this isn’t a religious site-rather it’s the tomb of Nikos Kazantzakis, author of works such as Zorba The Greek and The Last Temptation. When we were in Crete in 2008 I travelled to Heraklion to seek it out. I have most of his books and I do like to make personal connections. Fortunately I have a very understanding wife.
Although deeply spiritual, his books often reflected his struggle to find truth in religion and spirituality. Many Orthodox Church clergy condemned Kazantzakis’ work and a campaign was started to excommunicate him. His reply was: “You gaveme a curse, Holy fathers, I give you a blessing: may your conscience be as clear as mine and may you be as moral andreligious as I”
The tomb is quite plain, made of stone marked with a wooden cross. The epitaph, taken from one of his works, reads:
In 2012 my daughter was off school ill, fourteen days before her fifth birthday. What follows are just two of the many conversations that pushed me right over the edge:
Millie: “Do you like my necklace? Derek bought it me.” “No, Eric bought it you.” “Eric? And he took me to The Wiggles.” “No Derek took you to The Wiggles.”
“Yes.” “And bought me this necklace?” “No. Eric. There is Eric. And there is Derek.” “Where did Eric take me?” “The cinema.” “Eric took me to the cinema. Did Derek come? With the necklace?”
Andy picks up his phone, calls school. ” I think I will chance her in.”
Millie:”Is it my birthday in the morning?”
“Thereis night and there is morning. Is it my birthday after that?”
“The night and then the morning after that?”
“No.” “Is it my birthday after that?” No.” “After the night?”
“After the morning?”
“No.” “Is it my birthday?”
Andy picks up his phone, calls the adoption agency.
We are not out of the woods yet. Though we are in the tail end of March there is still talk of cold weather to come, with possible snow for Easter being mooted.
But still, there’s always signs, hints of the season to follow. Winter is fighting it’s last rearguard action, and the end will be merciful. Easter does indeed bring a resurrection.
The longer days, the warmer weather and emerging wildlife always seem to bring a creative boon, and now is no different. I am tweaking the manuscript for a second poetry collection: In Brigantia, before returning to the second draft of the novel Seasons On The Hill that I’m writing. Beyond this I have ideas for a semi-fictional take on family stories handed down to me, provisionsally entitled In Times Of War, and also a collection of short stories called The Night Spills In.
I’ve also agreed this week to proofread a translated work for a fellow poet, so things are starting to move.I’ve got a tentative plan about the order of things.
But first a coffee, I think, and see what tomorrow’s weather brings.