Jeremy Gadd

Jeremy Gadd

Jeremy Gadd has travelled widely around the Mediterranean and has contributed over 300 poems to periodicals and literary magazines in Australia, the UK, the USA, Ireland, India, Germany, Belgium, New Zealand, Malaya and Canada. His work has been collected in five volumes of poetry: Ecological Anxiety (Ginninderra Press, Australia 2020); Reflections While Flying On Empty (Aldrich Press, USA, 2015); Selected Poems (Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2013); Twenty Six Poems (AICD, Australia) and A Tale of Tai Ringal and Other Poems – a livre d’ artiste with engravings by P. John Burden, published by the Bournehall Press, England. Copies of this work may now be found in rare book collections including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Samuel Paley Library, Temple University, Philadelphia and the Reid Library in Western Australia. He has also published two novels Escaping the Triad (Holy Angels Publishing, Australia) and The Suicide Season (Moon Willow Press, Canada and Stormbird Press, Australia), two volumes of short stories Country and Under Centauri and had plays professionally performed. He was awarded a Bachelor of Dramatic Art degree from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art and MA with Honours and PhD degrees from the University of New England. His writing has won several literary awards and he lives and creates in an old Federation era house overlooking Botany Bay, the birthplace of modern Australia. Further information can be found at:


The temple lies in ruins now
desecrated and deserted
The rituals long forgotten now,
confused, misinterpreted.

This place once resonated
with voices singing ancestral songs,
now none seek divinity’s grace,
no congregation throngs.

Sanctified vessels are now pot
sherds and the columns – which
once enclosed this consecrated space –
lie toppled, the drums mute
while non-believers efface
or debase engraved holy words.
Now only heaven or the gods
know what is real or shadow.

Here, where traditional hymns were
sung, what was hallowed earth is dust
and people speak in strange tongues.
Here haunted phrases of past prayers

dissolve in the midday glare
and the goddess has long gone;
of her presence there is no trace.
Even fading memories will soon be erased.



Forgive me for I have sinned.
I saw my brother was in need
but I did not intercede …
forgive me, for I have sinned.


The ancient Greeks understood forgiveness.
Forgiveness was their gift to the future.
Angry Achilles, still mourning Patroclus’
death at Hector’s hands, granted Priam
the battered body of his son for burial,
and, with empathy, feted the grieving king.


The Old Testament demanded
a tooth for a tooth but the
New encouraged forgiveness.
Christ asked his Father to forgive
‘for they know not what they do’;
to forgive those who trespass,
to turn the other cheek …


To forgive those who hurt us;
those who broke our hearts or
that which robbed us of our youth
is the ultimate gift. By the act of
forgiveness, of real or imagined injuries,
we exorcise bitterness and the past,
and permit an unfettered future.


Mysterious Mistra, high on the mountain,
known as the wonder of Morea,
where medieval artists and architects
mingled by fountains in the shadows
of the ruins of the Norman fortress
or walked and wandered among pines,
Cyprus, gnarled, venerable, olive
trees, accompanied by belled sheep;
where worshippers prayed in
churches graced with fine frescoes,
or inhaled cool, clean air while
absorbing spectacular views
from the balconies of aristocratic
palaces and monasteries – where
Gemistus Pletho once sat in his
library replete with rare copies of
archaic Hellenic authors, including
Plato and Plotinus, contemplating
a perfect universe, without beginning
or end in time and, being perfect,
believing nothing could make it better.
Pletho rejected Christianity and
dogma about a brief life of evil
followed by perpetual happiness
and hoped for a return to pagan gods.
Pletho believed in karma; that the
human soul is reincarnated
and that a divine order governs
the organisation of bees,
the foresight of ants, the dexterity
of spiders, the growth of plants,
magnetism and alchemy.
Ezra Pound, in his cage, was
intrigued by Pletho and his
Cantos mention how Pletho
met Cosimo de Medici in
Florence and how Cosimo
financed the Accademia Platonica,
which translated Plato into
Latin and reintroduced Neoplatonist
texts to a later age.
                                And, in doing so,
Pletho and Cosimo fulfilled their
divine destinies. For divine isn’t
necessarily a grand gesture or saintly
accomplishment. Akin to butterflies
flapping their wings, they gave impetus
to a ripple that became a tsunami
as the Renaissance enveloped Europe.
Like conversations about Michelangelo,
cultures come and cultures go.


Beside the water at Babylon
we washed defeat from our hair.
and sought solace from despair.

We cried for what we knew was gone,
while the sun brightly shone
upon the water at Babylon.

We cried for what was left behind
for that which we would never find
beside the water at Babylon.

Leaving the Jordan for captivity
became a faded memory
beside the water at Babylon.

We could only dream of, one day,
returning home to our lost land,
so far away from Babylon.

We dreamt the Lord might reach out
and, as if on a magic carpet ride,
pluck and return us to his side

but the time in exile spent
beside the water at Babylon
become a redemptive lesson.

For the dream remained
just that, a wistful dream,
and Judah – a sight unseen,
beside the water at Babylon.

Poetry in this post: © Jeremy Gadd
Published with the permission of Jeremy Gadd