It’s still National Poetry Month, so I’m sticking with poems by my grandmother and will return to “Landscape With Figures” in May. Today, I give you one of my favorite poems. I love the line “Grief is more durable than stone.” I think that line influenced falling in love with the book, “Fugitive Pieces,” by Anne Michaels. If you haven’t read it, you need to. The first half is exquisite and when I read it, my grandmother’s line reverberates in my head in waves.
So here is Beatrice Allen Page’s “DELPHI.”
Emptiness broods on the amphitheatre.
Time has gnawed at the stone tiers.
Weeds and moss grow in the chinks.
Furtive salamanders scribble
cryptograms in ancient dust.
Throngs no longer gather here
to have their heartstrings played upon
by Attic tragedies.
Yet, a somber chorus of women
circles mutely in time’s shadow,
their invisible hands linked in common woe.
The scuffle of their worn sandals
makes a sound like autumn wind
sighing through the age-old memory.
Masks conceal their faces.
Grief is more durable than stone.
Long before the theatre was built,
the moving choir had begun
in hollows of cypress-dotted hills,
on wind-swept plains, inside walls
and towns. And still goes on
down through the ages, throughout the earth
an ever-widening circle of women
mourning the death of warriors:
And children not yet born.