Desolation appears on the horizon
An island of rock without trees, without plants.
Mile after mile goes by.
The scene continues without remorse.
From a distance no living thing
relieves the initial impression.
But there, high above the rock-bound shore
a green spot, and then when closer,
three white houses nest in the glimmer
of dawn's light.
Nothing more.
The dream-like setting fades
as if it never were.
The desolation remains.
Now a line creases the mountainside,
a rocky line of demarcation.
Another mile and the number of lines increases.
Long, sinuous stonewalls cut
across the barren landscape.
What do they hold in? Or out?
What purpose requires this distinction?
Nothingness is nothing more.
Power lines etch the sky.
Now a road leading nowhere.
A few dwellings hug the shoreline
as the ferryboat angles
toward the other side of the island.
Wondrously, a town comes into view.
A large town situated on two distinct hillsides.
The landscape remains the same
but the hand of man has notched a place
on the rocky almost desolate island.
A church stands high on each of the hillsides
comforted and nourished by the houses
cropped tightly beneath them
leading down to the waterfront
where we briefly dock.
Syros, what purpose brought these artifacts
of humanity to your unconquerable landscape?
The trees are not yours.
- Charles Martell

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