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Mirologia

11 August 2019


 

A Mirologia

A song of the dead, from the Deep Mani

Mani is the barren and lonely landscape of the southwestern tip of the middle leg of the Peloponnesus, Greece’s western peninsula. It is the setting for Isolation, the second novelette in the Abrasion series, which explores our need for human connection, and the unique reasons why, for a couple of characters who share the stage at a critical moment in history, this need goes painfully unmet.

I created this poem in the style of the mirologia, a mourning song for the dead unique to Mani, to appear in a key character’s written devotion to a old priest that took him in. The short poem contains a number of images from the greater story, drawing on imagery of the traditional mirologia (a *cyprus tree will represent the deceased), and of the physical spaces the main character haunts (the ruined church) to highlight the aging and infirm priest himself (eg, ‘… quaking dome’). The rhyme scheme is A-B-C-D–D-C-B-A* ….

 

O Cyprus Tree of deepest root,
O flow of holy water!
Thy ruined church
(with quaking dome)
yet bore a beaming welcome
to thy warm and humble hutch;
to host a prideful sinner,
to cleanse of direst soot.