The Soul I Want to Keep
What I do know about my grandmother is what my father always told me. “You have her voice, you have her eyes.” She had style. I saw a photo of her published in a book. She was posing for the camera in the most distinguished way with my grandfather next to her. I stared at the old photo hard, trying to see some of her personality that I could take away with me. I dearly wanted to know her and perhaps learn more about myself so I created her in my mind.
My grandmother was just 15 when she met my grandfather, who was much older than her. It was illegal to marry that young in Greece so they went to Marce, France. So the story goes.As a baby she sang to me. It was over the time we visited Greece. I have the vision of her cradling me in her arms and it won’t leave my head. Tragically she died young. She had diabetes and for some reason did not care for it so it spread. The doctors needed to amputate her leg because it got infected and she died because of the loss of blood.
If you ever visit the island of Kalymnos, you will find a statue of a woman holding a ‘laina’. She is the symbol of strength for the island. The woman worker who prepared the house. She gathered food, dealt with household chores and cooked for the family. How interesting that in such a male dominated culture a woman is the symbol of the island. She’s interesting to me because of her beauty, strength and grace. Likewise, my grandmother is highly spoken of and my grandfather who was great in his own way, seemed to be her shadow.
The Pull of A Spiritual Bond
Chasing My Roots
I remember her, I have a kind image of her. A young woman, the reflection of a mother of the past. Living a life of the now, holding onto that while everything else is destructive and in ruins.
The tension love holds, the veins I hold in place and the heart I guard for dear life. Oh how it plays in my mind, that thought I left behind in the anonymous land I love.
Every time I visit Greece I’m immersed in emotions that haunt me in beautiful ways. I yearn for these feelings when I am far. Do we all feel a spiritual bond with a specific family member? Or is it just me? Are my genes so strong that they are pulling me in her direction or am I over-romanticizing the thought?
I ventured abroad 10 years ago to find my roots as I searched for clues to my identity. It’s a funny ole thing to do because one might think they they already know themselves. But I needed to search my past and it wasn’t because of untold stories. I was drawn by my past spirits.
A home will always have this power of attraction. The problem was that I was pulled between Greece, the origins of my family and Australia, the place I was born and grew up in. The power of this pull eventually came from different directions as I made my home in different cities of Europe. And attracted me so deeply to Paris.
I have family living in France that I never met properly. I’ve seen them once when a few members visited my aunt in Kalymnos. It was the first time I heard Greek spoken with a French accent. It was delightful and I pondered about visiting them. But what would I say since they are now so distant? And besides, the bond I have is with my grandmother.
When I visit Greece again I will search for the photo of my grandparents and add it to my post.
By Bike To Australia & Back
Inspiration of Greece
A story of poems that illustrates a continuous beginning. Fresh and anew again and again. My poems are about absorbing the world around me with a pencil and paper in my hand. The way I see my life and the lives of others as I build my own outlook. There are poems for every mood in each chapter, sequenced like a story. A story of every day life, love, family and travel.
The Romance With My Art
Paris was where I had my portrait done and where I returned again and again for various reasons in my life. When in doubt, I turn to Paris.
The last time I was in Paris I danced! I wrote my impressions and formed them to created poetry. I love being with my arty friends because they don’t see me as weird. They yearn to have their senses challenged in the same way as I do. I talk to them about my ideas and I can see in their faces that I’ve triggered something. They speak with no words and I then know I’ve created a spiritual bond. Just like the one I have with my grandmother- perhaps?
Poems That Touch The Soul
“Sometimes we need to step away from our immediate surroundings for all to become clear and find truth.” I started writing to introduce my poetry book. Included are color photos of our dance adventure in Paris. If they give the same impressions as my own, you will experience unexplained emotions that can never be replicated or told again.
I continued to write, “This is true for myself. It is how I came to write my poems as I realised my subconscious love and passion for dance. My varied life experiences at home and abroad led to self-discovery and a realisation of a life of dance that I have always led that relinquished my disappointment of lack of pursuit.”
I explain my nomadic life and it is this life I have led in the pursuit of finding my artist self, the spirit of my grandmother.
“Life is dance, and without dance there is no life, and love for these are inseparable. I’m a dancer and poet at heart. Two inseparable art forms, one soul. “Poems that touch the soul & don’t adhere to the pattern of life”, refers to a nomadic lifestyle that lends itself to reach the unexplored self. This is an art form, one of its kind because it can dance and has always danced. It unites strongly through poetic philosophy that delves into ethical boundaries, aesthetics, education and love. A concept that encompasses and revolutionises a soul. It becomes true in its purest sense as every word put to paper is felt by my heart and a final breath celebrates creation.”
This poem illustrates the journey of finding my artist self through my grandmother of whom I’ve never met. I can feel it.
I do have her voice, I do have her eyes. And what more, I have her name ‘Maria’. Traditionally girls are named after their grandmother in Greece. I chose the name Malena which represents my artist self.
The poem is published in my book, Sudden Clarity. Last night I created an audio for this poem just so I can share it with my readers.
Colors emerge with age
Rusty browns and creamy whites
Classic and timeless
Up to the present day
Poise and stance romanced
I searched for the thought in my head
Like an apparent fate
That raced to catch the bait
Only to return home instead
I went in search for you
I found you
And ironically returned without you
Hidden virtue of love and sacrifice
The torture runs again and again
The thought remains in my head
To let go of it
And free it
Is a symbol of love
Freedom of self,
A vision of self
Is a hidden virtue of love and sacrifice
And there she was
I saw her from afar
I looked back
And there she was
I saw her below
And I thought that was me
I saw her near
Enclosed in a city
In a coffin
I saw she was
It was a coffin for me
Like the flowers he gave
The frozen flowers,
Like the photo
Of the love
That buried her head
Two decades apart
She unlocked her heart
It was a place
He buried his head
People walked by
Without a care for a soul
A heart, a body
When it grew old
And youth, a past
A curse to bear
Use her, describe her
Malena was her name
Was her ultimate aim
Ich habe eine kofer in Paris,
Was her claim
I might be related to the Greek Australian journalist John Mangos!
Did you know that I might be related to John Mangos?
Whether it’s fact or fallacy, I’ve been told this all my life. Before I changed my maiden name, people asked me ‘Are you related to John Mangos?’ all the time!
“John Mangos has had a thirty-six year career in journalism, the past thirty-three years in television. He is currently a news presenter for the Seven Network and is a regular guest on the Sunrise and Morning Show programs.” http://www.johnmangos.com/biography