|Memories Of Salonika
© Copyright George Papavgeris, March 2002
When winter's freezing wind came down the river
The cobblestones would ice up overnight.
We'd ride a plank downhill and cross the tram lines
And get told off by passers by for giving them a fright.
On Maydays the city went for picnics;
We'd climb the hill of Thousand Trees at dawn;
We'd play and sing and just before return we'd gather flowers,
One garland round each neck and one more extra for the door.
On summer nights, with arms around each other
The girls along the promenade would stroll.
The boys would wait for them by the White Tower
To pass a message, catch a look or for a hand to hold.
And by the statue of King Alexander
Like sentries in the early morning mist
The three of us around a lemonade with three long straws
Tall stories we would trade about the ones we might have kissed.
On Sundays after church they'd line the harbour
With box of bait and fishing line and stool,
Their faces like burnt ebony, but harder,
Old sailors would dispence their tales like teachers at the school.
We'd listen till the bells of Ay Dimitri
For vespers chimed to call us home at night.
And coming from the neighbourhood taverna in the dark
The sound of the street organ was the perfect lullaby.
I can't erase the memories of Salonika.
Remoteness and the passing years just stronger make the hold;
Like distant music from a sweet harmonica
That makes the heartstrings resonate to harmonies of old.
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