David Clark grew up in Rome, Vienna, London, studied in Canada, East Africa and London. Previously on editorial committee of Jewish Renaissance, London-based arts magazine, currently on editorial committee of Exiled Writers Ink, devoted to works by exiled and refugee writers. His poems have been published in Second Generation Voices (2009, 20014), Contemporary writers of Poland (2015, 2020), Voices Israel (2019, 2021), Exiled Ink (2018), The Litterateur (March 2021).
A week together in Crete
strolling along cobbled stones.
A biblical garden nestling
in synagogue courtyard,
pink domed mosque by setting sun,
last sunrays stroking, caressing city walls,
evenings with music and raki.
Walking along familiar paths, I feel your presence,
Here we had coffee by the harbour,
sat in the shade below the citadel.
You smiled as I took your photo.
How happy I was then.
Now the music starts up again,
lyra and mandolin, song and raki.
Such memories, more raki please.
Minaret in Crete
As the Turks left, the mosque desecrated,
minaret cut down to size,
still taller than surrounding houses.
The street was neglected, rooms rented out.
Decades later, paved with new cobbled stones,
boutique shops, old monastery turned to theatre,
art gallery, trendy bar.
The street with the minaret has changed.
The courtyard welcomes in strangers and
Casts a spell, an oasis of peace.
In one corner, table, chairs for the weary,
for the thirsty, a water tap,
By the staircase to the ladies’ gallery,
a palm tree in the midst of the rose garden.
Papyrus emerges out of giant amphora.
In another corner, citrus tree, bearing elongated lemons,
the Etrog, to be used in the harvest festival,
together with the palm leaf, myrtle and willow.
At the other end of the synagogue a pomegranate tree,
yielding fruit in the right season for the New Year,
tied with multicoloured ribbons for good fortune,
As you enter the synagogue, you breathe in centuries
of prayer and contemplation, joy and sadness.
The courtyard greets each visitor,
“you are blessed coming in,
you are blessed as you go out”.
This poem is dedicated to Etz Hayyim Synagogue, Chania, Crete
Fishing boats swaying in the breeze,
lights shimmering on water.
The new moon peers down,
Bemused, low in the sky,
almost touching, caressing,
hills gently sloping towards the sea.
By the quay a woman dances,
embracing a puppet with red lips,
Oh moon, what do you see?
Is life but pretence?
can we still have fun?
laugh at ourselves?
Squid hanging on line,
sunbathing, gently waiting,
soon to be side dish.
Poetry in this post: © David Clark
Published with the permission of David Clark