My poems about Greece are up on Verse-Virtual.com, the online journal that publishes a big batch of new poems every month.Here’s the link for the poems: http://www.verse-virtual.com/robert-knox-2016-july.html
Greece is both a country with an ancient civilization and, judging by our recent visit, a population that refuses to grow old. Hence the phenomenon of bearded, well-fleshed motorcyclists that we encountered on busy thoroughfares throughout the country. It’s not just “Ancient Greece” we encounter on our visit, but a very lively contemporary society.
The prevalence of active graybeards on bikes put me in mind of a famous fist line from one of W. B. Yeats’s most celebrated poems: “This is no country for old men.” This sentence is probably best known today as the title of a film by the Coen brothers that won a best picture Oscar in 2007. That film was based on a novel by Cormac McCarthy, who of course borrowed from Yeats’s poem for his title.
The poem we’re all borrowing from is “Sailing to Byzantium.” a work gleaming with brilliant, enduring phrases. The poet’s notion of old men is represented this way in the second stanza:
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,…
Wow. Both great language and good advice.
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