© Copyright George Papavgeris, February 2006
I remember the day, summer countryside morning;
I was only a young lad, hardly older than ten;
When my two older cousins woke me up in a hurry
Saying I should dress quickly and follow with them.
We went out on the street, and we joined the whole village
As they all made their way up the hill to the church,
Carrying bundles and baskets all full of provisions
And I joined in their singing as on the donkey I perched.
We attended the service celebrating their patron
With a reverence today only rarely is found.
But the day was still cool as we filed to the churchyard
And in family groups we spread blankets around.
And in no time at all, there was music and laughter.
From the spits fine aromas the air seemed to fill.
For one day in that year there was no work or worries
As farmers and shepherds relaxed on the hill.
As the eating was done and the drink flowing freely
A circle of women was formed for the dance.
Then a circle of young men took the rhythm still faster,
Now and then at the women slyly taking a glance.
When they all sat again and returned to their drinking,
For a minute or two there was silence, and then
The old priest stood up slowly, and from each family blanket
One by one then there joined him a dozen old men.
To the slow heavy beat of a drum and one fiddle,
As the years fell like magic from each wrinkled face,
They began a slow movement like a time-ancient riddle
Every step had a meaning, every gesture had grace.
There was fire in the eyes, there was fire in the posture
Though the limbs were still frail there was purpose and pride.
With the rest of the village I looked on in amazement
(As) for a few minutes there we had travelled in time.
I could swear there were tears in the eyes of the first dancer,
And there certainly were in the eyes of his wife
As he came back to her and so gently she kissed him.
In that moment alone, you could see their whole life.
I remember the day, on a fine summer's morning
When I promised myself and remember it still
That no matter what comes, and wherever life throws me
One day yet I will dance with old men on some hill.
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