Poetry: 2008

(First posted in 2008 on Stephen’s previous website)

This is a poem arising from my rich few days in a rural Greek Cypriot mountain village.

Three Olives

These narrow streets, 
800 meters above the Mediterranean,
channeled the civic, domestic and 
husbandry movements of 500 Cypriots.

Today, 40 remain.

Then: Old ones, grandparents,
those in their middle years and
young ones with children.
Donkeys, goats, dogs, cats.

Now: Veterans each.  Youngest is 65.
Eldest, 95 
and proud.

Dignified.  Blue sports coats over
v-neck sweaters.  Slacks.  Skirts.
White hair,
or suggestions of it.

Widows.  Widowers.  Couples.
Sitting in the cafes in circular

Easy laughter.  Extended silences.

A man buys my tea.  Local policy: No one
pays for one’s own drink.

Village cats wait outside.
Stone walls and streets more senior still.
The river is yet older.
No midlifers.  No young people left.

Widows on that side of the river.
This side, none.
Why did those men, there, leave
and these stay?


Slow movements.  Easy smiles.
Walking steep
streets in the company of solitude.

Children or grandchildren return
on weekends.  Some return in love.  Others
seeking a loan or grant.

Sunday lunch.  A father and his children,
themselves, late in midlife.

Copious and succulent village fare: vegetables, breads, fruits.

©2008 Stephen Victor 

I had a rich couple hours of mystical experience atop the mesa on my New Mexico land in December 2008. I have long had an affinity with trees. This day was simply more. This poem wrote itself in the first fifteen minutes of coming down from the mesa. 

Wisdom’s Consort

The Goddess thrusts her great clouds of 
grey and white mane with fierce allure.

Repeatedly, she pruriently tosses the fabric
of her skirts with such provocation that my
will is her will.

In this place Juniper possesses my body, my
mind, my heart.  She knows she will have
her way with me.

Her regal sculptured reach is enough 
to undo me.

She does not have to work at all.
It is her
languid presence that is her coquettishness.

I am captivated.

I sit in and astride her glorious bifurcating
held, as I hold.
I entwine ever more completely.  She too.

To merge completely is my longing.
My face, close as physicality permits.
Tears are pulled from within me.
One being.

Yet she is more than her physical Grace.
She, her Presence, dwarfs the body on and
in which I sit.

Yes, I talk with her.  And she with me.

The great mane clocks round again.
Skirts rising, entreating, then falling.

I am shameless.

In this place, yes, Juniper.
Yet in other places I ache for Redwood and her
generous statuesque endowment of deep
patient giving.

And then, Madrone in the same locale.
The ease, tensile and Grace of her slender
breadth.  The color of her arms and torso as 
she sheds no longer desired blouse and jumper.


The Goddess moves her hips and I am delirious
with the Olive Tree of the Middle East.

Ancient thickly sculpted body of peace
and unimaginable fecundity.  Giving, 
giving, giving.

Yet, receiving so little.  Or so 
it seems.

She is open within you know.  Space for all who
notice.  And for those who do not.

There is a fidelity in my heart belonging
to many.
I am.  You are.  We are the Earth,
you know.

She is us.

She desires many lovers.
Love her, love yourself.

be the Earth’s consort too.

©2008 Stephen Victor

A Visitor’s London

I love this polyglot city.

Last week’s hastened winter
            and today’s blustery push all the more. 
Bad boy polar currents rousing intemperate moist flows
            along the “North Atlantic Drift.”
In feigned flinch, she relinquishes her bounty on this city.
            We, the beneficiaries, are regaled in brisk wettish renewal.

I, an outsider,
a foreigner, possessing but modest
            linguistic and cultural fluency
attempt comprehension
while negotiating cityscape and cross cultural intersections.
            Silent ancestral alliances come to my aid –
bits of understanding congeal.

I love Londoner’s dignity. 
            Her character.  Robust spirit.  I am yet incredulous at
London’s penchant for a wardrobe of black. 
            Black stockings, shoes.  Yes, of course. 
Black waterproof and umbrella, okay.

But enough now!  Please! 
            What and whom do you perpetually mourn?
Might not your geographical bias
            for long hours of winter darkness, cold sluicing rain
from blackened skies
and cloudy summers months
            suggest that a distinct boon awaits
once donning an array of colorful clothing?

London Plain Trees! 
            Their profound magnanimity takes my breath.

In awe I stand
            entranced in city squares
held by these behemoths of Grace:

Tears streaming.  Heart expanding. 
            Joy and gratitude buoyed on
shimmering branches of love.

They told me: 
“We hold the hands and hearts of Londoners.”

©2008 Stephen Victor

I work in Greek Cyprus three or four times a year – and have for several years now. One of my friends graciously permitted me the use of his home in the rural village of Tres Eleis. This poem speaks to the beauty I found there.

Treis Eleis, 
Troodos Mountains,

Aphrodite’s birthplace 
to the Southwest of this place, 
that direction, 
on the coast.

This village was a place 
of hiding. In the old times
when this island was 
bounty to marauding sailors.

Here, nature’s conspiracy extant
in exuberant profusion.

Walnuts.  Copious.
Rolling down steep streets, 
gathering where tarmac and 
contour diverge.

Olives suspended on branches of peace.

Vines taut with ambrosia:
bulbous interracial cohabitants:
yellow, white, red, purple.

Vineyards now abandoned.
Slopes too steep for these elderly inhabitants.

Their young 
suckle on postmodernity’s teat 
of scurry, mobile and SMS.

apple, peach and pomegranate, 
wither – 
now loved by too few.

They stayed faithful,
as long as they could.

Forests encroached.  
The fruits succumbed.

Some yet hopeful:
vestiges of youth past,
green pert breasts 
flirting beneath leafy 
blouses moving 
with the wind’s caress.

Insistent fecundity.
Unfathomable generosity.

Mushrooms.  Blackberries.  Blueberries.

Fruits of unknown identities
yet, their sweetness arrests.

©2008 Stephen Victor

This poem was prompted by a sign posted at the entrance to the easement through another’s property I used to access the land I owned in rural northwest New Mexico.

“If the dogs don’t get you, 
the shotgun will.”

My neighbor’s conspicuously 
placed placard affirmed.

I, too, from behind 
ramparts of fear,
albeit with less temerity,
too often impart.

©2008 Stephen Victor

Love in the Time of Change

How do you orient in your world?
Do you know your coordinates?

Have your bearings, do you?

And your heading,
do you know it?

Is it of your own setting, 
or another’s? What is its

And the topography and tectonics
of your life? Are they of your doing
or that of another?

There is a great to-do about change

is changing,

Come. Join other hearts
who fancy the poetic over
the prosaic. Orient anew
on how best to proceed
with your own life.

©2008 Stephen Victor

Some years ago, invited by friends to visit them in New Mexico, we walked up and onto a mesa. Something there touched me deeply…involuntarily, I dropped to my knees weeping in gratitude and joy. Eventually, I bought the land. “Sublime” presented itself three years later after returning from a couple hours of being alone with the life on the mesa. 


I do not own this land
but in the vernacular of our
collective ignorance,
I hold its deed and call it mine.

Each fall
I pay homage to the County
through its assessor.

Now in snow
atop this mesa,
in ostensible solitude,
I stand in the august company
of many.

Spirits of spent volcanos,
other grand mesas and mountain ranges
circumambulate between horizon and me,

In their intense presence,
I am seen; I belong. 
And I too see.

Anasazi are present. I weep
deeply at their recognition
and my remembering.

They reveal other temporal
realities of this place and me.

Others too are here. The Santa Terra
at the mesa’s western edge,
informing I am home.

Spirits of stones, Pinon, Yucca, Juniper.

All are celebratory. 

after eons of longing to be 
– fostered –
by a place,

touched with griefs of remembering,
joy, gratitude,

at last, I am here.

This land: fierce, arid, masculine.
A place of restoration.
Its nurturance is that
of the Goddess. 

Yet She remains unrecognized by
postmodernity’s character and temperament.

Larger than Red-tailed hawks,
Raven flirts with me in aerobatic nuance.

Descending within four meters,
 she stalls aloft as we look
into each other’s eyes.

Raven speaks in soft audible multiple
syllables. Her sounds
I do not yet understand.
I know her silent communications.

Raven welcomes my return for she
assisted in my purchase of this land.

On that day three Raven
simultaneously circled me at the
mesa’s western edge.

Their purpose: Seal the deal.
They did.

 ©2008 Stephen Victor

Sometimes, I ask those in my workshops to allow themselves to remember intermittent moments in their lives: those times when someone acts in a manner that soothes a wound, or touches one’s heart, or, resonates with something beyond the personality. These moments of Grace are intended to support the expression of promise a person carries. One such moment involved the very decent human being Mary Miller, as she touched my shoulder. Her honoring of human dignity helped set a trajectory for me. As to the bit about her skirts, I don’t know…it came forward in writing the poem.

Mary Miller

She, my fifth grade teacher,
an anomaly
in my world:
She respected children.

As she queued her
class for lunch, she
touched my shoulder.

First honest woman’s touch.

Whether the world found
Mrs. Miller attractive –
I did.

Present. Kind. Caring.

Seeing under her skirts.
I linked character and form.

©2008 Stephen Victor

The Colleague’s Wife

She worked in the bank
servicing the account for
my paper-route.

Her husband, I do not remember;
he worked with my father.

She, I remember.

Not her name.

I delivered 
her newspapers.

She and I spoke when 
I deposited my loot. 

She was kind to me.  Always.

Generous –
as I,
her cooking, or their
dinner, collected
fees for the paper.

I liked her.  She, mid- to late thirties.
I, eleven.

She was one whom the
world regarded as pretty.

Mostly, she was kind.
Her car passed my bicycling
She, en route home.
delivering papers.

I liked her.

A moment later, overtaking 
her parked car,
she, unawares, exiting.

And me, uninitiated, looking under
her skirt – between her legs:
tops of stockings, garter straps,
insides of thighs, white panties. 
(I liked looking at her.)

(She said hello.  I too.)

I peddled on

now erect, 


(I had no referent
for I was wholly

soaring within
foreign fires,
I stopped my bike.

Sat on the curb.
Head in hands.


©2008 Stephen Victor