The South African in England, writing on Greek mythology, of course

So…… I haven’t posted in a while, ahem, oops! This is mainly due to the finishing of a degree, a trip home for a fantastic family wedding, and now hunting for a job. I haven’t had much time to sit down and write anything chunky, like an article, review or recipe, but I am one of those people who writes really bad poetry when there’s a spare moment (usually during a commute, or just before bed, or something else mundane). I’ll write in notebooks, on napkins, my phone, even on store receipts if I have nothing else on me – honestly, it’s better than meditation when I’m particularly frazzled!

Anyhoo, once I realised I hadn’t posted in a while, and being short on time, I went through my notes and found a few poems I’d scribbled down. These two I wrote with a sprinkling of Greek mythology, something I don’t often do, but it made for fun writing! It’s a little odd to be placing my words in so many territories, but then again, as an immigrant I don’t often find myself occupying geographical absolutes. I’m popping the poems up together, and I hope at least one of them has a little something of interest for someone out there. The first one I wrote as I crossed Waterloo bridge on a cold winter’s night: I was really homesick, I had just read Cavafy’s Ithaca, and I was feeling just a touch resentful of the ‘journey’. The second one I wrote after a particularly gruelling day of political news – I imagine Kronos to have oddly small hands 😉 Enjoy!


Homesick [Response to C]

I read of Ithaca, then,


Finding my mind poor

You opened me, Datura Wrightii,

Poured the sea into my skull,

Seething Proteus,



Now I see Cyclops skulking

On the muddy river bank.

It glares at the towering spikes;

Bloodshot, regrown, never sleeping.

Seagulls shriek

‘Odysseus, Odysseus!’

As it squats,

Fat Sauron sneers, taunting me too:

‘Remember Nobody, nobody, no body’

Sirens wail as they pass

‘Πάντα στὸν νοῦ σοὔχεις τὴν  ̓Ιθάκη’

I feel I have heard it before, but I can’t remember




Beyond this sodden Ogygia –

I remember that purple aroma, Zeus in summer.

Her love woven into fast nets,

Hephaestus working molten rain upon our roof.

I yearn to return to her

But she is gone.

Her perfume lingers on the olive knots.

The geese have flown.

Is that what you mean?

Do I carry Scylla on my back?

I hear Penelope has wed Poseidon.



My feet will not pace along Cairo’s rich banks,

Not yet.

‘Slowly’ you whisper, so slow I’ll be.

Perhaps some wisdom will visit me.


Ah! I long for the wealth of Ithaca!




I ate my children,

As I had promised them. 

I consumed their flesh,

As is my right. 

I gave them life, so that they could give me power,

Is that not what we agreed?


My father was a hardly-familiar dictator.

I was born of his lust,

And so I took it from him

While my mother cheered and wept,

I made my own paradise with it. 


My power is absolute, absolution,

My rules so perfect, they do not exist.

My children practice self-tenderisation,

Indoctrinated mental cannibalism,

While quietly I devour it all.


It is not my fault;

They love me for it.

It is my right

One they gave me by living.

Still, when I spit out their sinews stuck in my teeth,

Sometimes I feel flecks of gravel pass my lips.




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