A few weeks ago, I posted a review on the Melbourne book launch of Andrea Demetriou’s haunting book, The mountains couldn’t walk away. Andrea’s poetry collection is a reflection of her experiences escaping Cyprus as an eight-year-old girl when Turkey invaded in 1974. Since posting my review, I’ve received requests to post some of her poems here on the blog, and Andrea has been kind enough to allow Overland to do this.
Due to the success of the Melbourne launch, The mountains couldn’t walk away is being relaunched in Sydney on Thursday. This is an event I highly recommend to poets, or anyone interesting in engaging with the refugee voice.
The book will be launched by Tim Colebatch (economics editor, The Age), Angelo Loukakis (author & executive director of the Australian Society of Authors), John Mangos (senior anchor, SKY News Australia) and Jeannie Lewis (Best female Vocal Album, Australian Radio Record Awards).
The launch will also include musical performances by Andrea and Jeannie.
When: Thursday 29 April at 6:30pm
Where: Barnet Long Room, Customs House, 31 Alfred St, Circular Quay
For further information contact Dimi Lafazanos on (02) 9750 0440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Night Of Lucerne*
When the war occurred I pretended or thought that
We were going on an excursion…due to return
When death occurred I pretended or thought that
They were bound to… come back
Tonight however, I had to suddenly accept that
We never return and they never come back
*Lucerne is the town in Switzerland where the Greek and Turkish sides met to ‘negotiate’ the ANNAN plan which was written by the British diplomat Lord David Hannay. 76% of the Greek Cypriot people voted against it. Asked if he could implement such a plan in England, Lord Hannay answered: ‘I have never been confronted with such a possibility’.
The Clocks That Have Not Been Taken Down
Yesterday I watched an interview about Cyprus on TV,
This made me think about the Green Line
It made me remember that our houses have been deserted;
That someone threw our personal belongings
In the rubbish bin twenty-two years ago;
That other people live in our house now.
As I lay in bed with my eyes shut
I thought of our old clock which we rescued from the village;
It hangs on a wall of a coffee shop in Gastouni*
It has been hanging there since 1975
I’d like to go there and buy it
It is the only thing left which reminds me of our house.
I remember the sound of its ticks
And how it chimed every hour
It now ticks in that coffee shop
But nobody loves that clock, or thinks of it as I do;
Nobody longs for the sound of its ticks or for the sight of it;
I imagined its sound tick – tack tick -tack
First in our house- next to the pictures of the last supper,
the wealthy man with the poor man –
And then in the coffee shop in Gastouni.
These are the things I think about when everybody else goes
To their family home for Easter,
To their childhood memories
To the clocks that have not been taken down
And still tick in the same houses.
All towns are alien to me
And I always feel that a part of me is missing
It’s somewhere else
It’s in a place I have no access to
It’s constantly missing
I’m constantly insufficient
Like an incomplete musical metre
which never ends……..
*Gastouni is a small town in the Peloponnesus, which my parents fled to after the war.
The mountains couldn’t walk away is available at Readings and Glee Books.