Kydathinaion Street

Kydathinaion Street.*
                          Οδός Κυδαθηναίων

Kydathinaion St
Kydathinaion Street, image courtesy of

a jumble
of sun
flipped beneath
the tables
on the tablecloth
you dab
flakes of crust
sunlight gashed
marble in a
glass of

as though we
had all stepped under
perhaps the roaring
   train, dragged
   in the banner’s  gale
            of steel,
   banner of those who’ve
   taken that harsh shore
            by force
as though we
had all stepped under,
the muslin gaps
of shade racks
of card sky
enamelled by wind

betray an instinct
            of surprise,

so the dead, a
gust of confetti,
grains of sugar you crack
            on the tablecloth.

                                   april 1985

*One of the streets in the Plaka district of Athens. Wikipedia describes the Plaka as:‘Pláka (Greek: Πλάκα) is the old historical neighborhood of Athens, clustered around the northern and eastern slopes of the Acropolis, and incorporating labyrinthine streets and neoclassical architecture’

I believe that in a few minutes of sunlight on this street, as a young man, I came upon my very own person for the first time.

Copyright ©1986 Peter Le Baige.  All Rights Reserved.  Reproduced from my own publication ‘street hung with daylit moon’, Chamaeleon Press

The music is from the solo violin work “Gyftiko” (Gypsy) by John Psathas,  performed here by Rusanda Panfili at the Evmelia International Music Festival in Volos, Greece on April 2nd 2012.  I chose this piece in part because on my first night in Athens on Kydathinaion Street an elderly violinist in a well-worn suit played for us a traditional lament that this recording recalls for me.


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