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Only when the snow melts,

the tourists return,


then I will tell them

how things are,


how olive trees have been growing here

before the Iliad was even written, 


  from Winter in Crete by Ion Corcos







Brown Bear

On This Rock

Ancient Forest

Seal Woman

Marsh Frog

Winter in Crete

Eurasian Coot

Gum Trees

Ithaca from a Ferry




1 – BIOGRAPHY:  Ion Corcos


Ion Corcos was born in Sydney, Australia. His poetry has been published in Gray Sparrow Press, Peacock Journal, Clear Poetry, Australian Poetry Journal, The High Window and other journals. He recently won the Poetry Kit Summer Competition 2016. The themes of his work centre on life, nature and spirit. He is currently travelling indefinitely with his partner, Lisa.


Email: idcorcos@hotmail.com

Website: www.ioncorcos.wordpress.com 

Twitter: @IonCorcos







Brown Bear


I am not awkward –

only that you do not look at this tree

the way I do – I see

the world in it:


a lizard scuttling

on a dry riverbed,

humus rotting

on a forest floor,

a brown bear

in the snow;


you see birds lost in the thick

of leaves,


an empty nest,

paring bark

that reveals nothing

of what is inside.




On This Rock


On this rock, a seagull,

grey wings tucked like a soldier

watching at the gates

for returning ships. On this rock,

steel light,

turning the stone

to black. On this rock,

surrounded by silver hair,

glint, and water.

On this stone, the final gasp

of a drowned girl,

the blood of a monk seal,

fish scales. On this stone,

silt from the steep mountain,

a black sea urchin.

On this rock, the crash of waves

in winter, a distant star

fallen from the night,

a jagged edge.

On this rock, the skin

of a crocodile,

dry salt, a siren’s call.

On this rock,

a seagull,

watching at the gates,

waiting for the fish to return.


Ancient Forest


Ashen bones

wash out

into the world,

strewn in the



Wolf and man gathered

at different times

to eat another

piece after soul



Now there is no wolf,

no man that gathers

in shade,

trunks that blend

into forest.


Only bones

and scattered rocks

under thin pine woods,

and birds, hidden,

inside trees.


Seal Woman


At the edge of the sea, a monk seal, 

dark grey fur driven onto rock.


I wait for her to take off her coat;

I do not want to take it from her.


Long sheaths of grass sway near splash.

A cat climbs on the limbs of a bare tree


flanked with driftwood. A stranger passes.

She tells me of a long dead woman


seen far out at sea; a woman once kept

by an old fisherman.


The seal slinks off the rock, steals

into the green. I take off my coat; dive


in the cold water after her. I follow

deep, but lose her in the dark, drowning.


Her tail disappears, swift silver-grey

glistens into the light above.


As I resurface, clamber onto shore

I see her, seal woman in the waves.


Marsh Frog


Green line crouched

low along its back, dark folds

of spotted skin in sun; overlooks


stagnant water, strands of rush.

Eyes set close for flies,

or shadows; grey sacs bulge


its crick and croak, hide the corners

of its mouth; legs push hard,

fast rock to swamp.


Winter In Crete


Snow covers the rocks

on the White Mountains.


I sit alone by an olive grove

and yellow buttercups,

scattered in winter grass.


An eagle swirls over hills,

shrewd banker from the north.


Two cats cling to a bare tree.


I find peace in winter; not telling tourists

how hard things have been,


fending off talk

of how stupid we are.


At night, the wind carries cold rain,

throws hard pellets of hail.


Only when the snow melts,

the tourists return,


then I will tell them

how things are,


how olive trees have been growing here

before the Iliad was even written, 


that there is a tree nearby,

one of the oldest in the world;


it has grown olives

for over three thousand years.




Eurasian Coot


Black-feathered body

disappears into clear water,

dark under midday sun.


Only a white-striped face

reappears, far from its dive

to the shallow lake floor.


A piece of weed in its beak,

its body bounces

to the surface of the lake,

like a buoy.


Squeaks kow, kow kow,

rises halfway from the water,

flaps its sooty wings,

inflates itself;


body bigger than it is,

it runs on water, fast,

to scare, force,

another coot away.


Gum Trees


See the gum trees along the creek,

tower over the asphalt road, like the trunks

I left behind; they were in a woodland,

and the road was rough. See the gum

trees along the creek, the grey bark,

tinge of pink; I lived in hope

that they were enough. But he cut them

down. See the gum trees I left behind,

the stands I loved, the place I cannot return to;

there is not enough in between;

not enough death, and winters,

rotten plums, and empty fishing boats,

not enough wonderings, or

the scent of basil, the clank of a goat bell,

and lemons on a dry silt grove. 




As the sun lays its first shadow,

goats huddle on a barely treed slope,

silent respite against rock;

a small shrub, their only shade.


Ithaca From a Ferry


I passed Ithaca on a ferry, stared

at the island, to find something more,

a reason to visit. It took Odysseus years

to come back home; I knew

that I could come back again; I

thought that many times.

I walk by limestone seas, tufts of thorns,

but I cannot find the

feelings I once felt. Swallows leap,

boats lie still, and the mountain

stands above like it will never fall;

but the wild goat is no longer stranded

on the bare island, I have not walked

along the cliffs,

and I have only seen one eagle.            

When I passed Ithaca I stared,

wondered what it was, if I was wrong,

but I knew, I knew what Ithaca meant,

and that I did not need to go.




Brown Bear - Halfway Down the Stairs (Dec 2016)

Ancient Forest - Peacock Journal (Sept 2016)

Seal Woman - Peacock Journal (Sept 2016)

Eurasian Coot - Red Eft Review (Mar 2017)

Gum Trees - The High Window (Mar 2017)

Quiet - Halcyon Days (Mar 2016)

Ithaca from a Ferry - Winner of Poetry Kit Competition Summer 2016


4 - Afterword

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