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Cyprus Is Calling

Dear Readers:

It is time to pass the pen to a new commentator for fresh ideas on poems read at the Hoot.
Among other things, I have been attempting to address the question posed by the title of Dana Gioia's
provocative essay: "Can Poetry Matter?" My first column back in August of 2003 featured a poem from
the first Portsmouth Poet Laureate, the late Esther Buffler. I now come full circle with a poem from Alda
Irons, a sagacious, sensual poetic voice on the seacoast for decades, who will celebrate her 90th
birthday on May 1st. Alda was at the Hoots as often as health would allow, delighting and enlightening
us with her finely tuned lyrics on the mystery of love, the ache of loss, the forgiveness of time, the wonder
of nature, and the blindness of war. Although she has relocated permanently to Arizona, her rhythms
beat in those Portsmouth hearts fortunate enough to have felt her read.
                                                                                                                 -- JP

Cyprus Is Calling

Cyprus is calling
And the streets are wet with weeping-
The quick strong tears a war occasions
In this bold brave harbor of boys,
Of blacked-out ships speaking secrets
We all understand.

The old look to the fathomless,
The bankers to the rattling dice
On a tavilly board.

The old remembering the rattle of spears,
The rattle of throats, remembering
Buzzards blacking skies,
Charring eggs in the nests of tomorrow
Where only the sea bird
Flies clean and easy.

The old look to a landscape of eyes,
Memorize the set, the grace of bodies.
The old, and the lovers.

                             --Alda Irons

"Cyprus is Calling" copyright 1999 by Alda Irons. The poem appears in Alda's collection: Here and on
Another Shore
, published by Bear Rocks Publications. For many years, Alda lived on the island of
Paros in the Aegean Sea, where "The cold Aegean wind...now no longer lift(s)… {her} …wings."

Please note: Poems submitted to this column should not exceed nineteen lines.
The Poetry Hoot is on the first Wednesday of every month at Cafe Espresso in the 800 Plaza, Portsmouth, NH.  


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