“Paeaean” by Aea Varfis-van Warmelo

Image of poem. Image text: Aea Varfis-van Warmelo Paeaean in the ουδαουδαμώς the slopped sea licks at sand slips back to seabed shoves forth and licks // the gloss wet of it all means nothing now the longing gone too and — he / empty hollow buffeted still yes the hot sand lick of sea he has trod before yes yes from water all land is land from land all water is water so he slips from one to other easy easy from land to land for a decade now one wonders why he has not mistaken one for home yet unless he knows Ithaca from the smell — one wanders / / / the hot stench of home, supple still welcomes him back ———————— κι αν μας τραγουδάει I no longer hear it the seasong the murmur of it no sound of it to me no // I have // I do / I locate Athens in the stench when the hot slick fist of summer strikes I am home — vicious sick word made for killing ///// home in the stench warm full up of it yes / the fatty pang that is longing —— truth: I left it though and truth: return is no pilgrimage truthtruth: I have no Ithaca none of us do unless forced to leave it —— who to blame in it / I’m inclined to point - O who to jab with the // the TR-/uth of how borders spasmed and altered monumental that slipstream border cicatrised on map — please the borders do do trtrace them on the sheet but in water they are nothing but layline ///// the swimmers from the east slipstream to us and little do they know — little really do they know the waters are Greece and the waters will drown them but the triumph is landing yes how cold wet sand unwelcomes cold wet hand and foot //// the triumph — sweet rotten home not that she cares πατρίδα μού she will shift them before long ——— how’s the nowthen for nationalism / σε ξέρω ξέρεις / I do I/I do /// you identify too strongly with the dent where feet have passed ////// not your step not you only sweet butter divot of marble coincidence — I know to hate you well / easy easy to ——— O —— το θαλασσόασμα — O sing for the slick sea the liquid cradle how she holds her still children __

Aea Varfis-van Warmelo is a Greek/British performance-maker and writer based in London. Her work has appeared in The White Review, Tolka, A Glimpse of, Spam, and most recently featured in the National Poetry Library’s Future Cities exhibition. She is currently a member of the Southbank Centre’s New Poets Collective.

This excerpt from SAND 24, designed by Déborah-Loïs Séry, appears as it does in the print journal. To read more, buy a copy or subscribe at our webshop