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Aegean Waves

I sit here watching the sea roll,
foam and unfold upon the beach.
I do not know why
But tears roll down my face.
I mop them up with an eager tongue
and I notice their salty taste.
I am not crying out of sorrow
or out of joy.
Perhaps the sea encouraged this flow,
I saw its surge and its seepage reflected in me.

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Sanctuary of Trajan, Pergamon….Bergama, Turkey

Sanctuary of Trajan, Pergamon....Bergama, Turkey

Ulrike, Deniz and Lisa

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The theatre at Pergamon

The theatre at Pergamon

A long way down…the biggest and steepest theatre in the ancient world.

The ancient city of Pergamon in Bergama Turkey

Pergamon is another remnant and proof of the excellence and sheer splendour of the Graeco-Roman world. It is a massive site, unfortunately we had only time to walk around the acropolis which took us two hours. We hired a taxi from a restaurant in Bergama for 50 TLR and the taxi driver took us to the top of the site and we wandered through the acropolis. The excavations here were conducted by German archaeologists who removed many artefacts and took them back to Germany. You can see them at the Pergamon museum in Berlin. The huge altar of Pergamon was dedicated to Zeus, the altar’s foundation is still evident today. The Sanctuary of Trajan is still In good repair and presents some good photo opportunities as does the Hellenistic theatre which was one of the biggest and most definitely the steepest throughout the ancient world, I felt really dizzy standing at the top looking down…and wow it really has an stunning back drop. When we were there a couple of American tourists were trying out the acoustics and singing on where the stage would have been. The theme from the Lion King did not sound too bad from where I was sitting! The theatre had a seating capacity of 10,000, a sign of the multitude of this ancient city. And the Pergamon Library is another testament to its magnificence, ancient Historian Plutarch wrote that the Library here housed over 200,000 volumes. Legend has it that Mark Anthony emptied the shelves and gave the collection to Cleopatra for a wedding present. Lucky girl!!! If this was so, it meant a vast amount of Knowledge was shipped from Pergamon to Alexandria. However, it is suggested that Pergamon is the place where parchment was created and first used, the people had to find a new material after being refused Papyrus from Alexandria.

We did not have time to visit Pergamon’s centre of Medicine, the sanctuary Asclepius. Asclepium is the God of Healing. This centre offered music and water therapies and also had practitioners who analysed dreams; long before Freud! 

Before heading back to Izmir we all had tea in a local council tea garden. I hope to go back someday and visit the Basilica and the Bergama Museum!

 

At the Water’s Edge

This poems tells us of one woman’s journey over two years. .. it is a celebration and acceptance of the cyclical nature of existence..

 

 

 

She stands alone at the water’s edge,

Sturdy reeds poke through her white linen dress.

She watches the horizon for her lovers return,

She looks on and on, her hope fading with the sun.

“Tomorrow I will not come to the water’s edge”, she says

“Tomorrow I will keep my eyes to the ground”.

Tomorrow she will see how new life grows,

Tonight she draws in a lung full of air

And picks up the sweet smell of decay

Not her lover’s but her own.

She stands at the water’s edge,

Basking in the delicate spring sun,

The sturdy green reeds poke her fingers,

She plays their spiked tips like piano keys.

“Tomorrow I will do the laundry” she says

“Tomorrow I will make a chain of peppers to hang in the sun”

Tomorrow she will work until dusk,

To make sure all is done.

For her tiresome winter’s work, a leisurely day is just.

Only rest and play are important today.

She unties and steps out of her mid length linen dress,

Then hides it in the long lush grass,

She wades, thigh-deep into the cool river,

River bed mud oozes up between her toes.

“Tomorrow I will swim across the river and bathe in the meadow” she says,

“Tomorrow I will sit and pluck daisies with my toes”

Tomorrow she bathes on the other side,

She finds a nice spot of grass which she flattens with her weight and shape

When she swims she creates ripples in the cool river water

Later tonight she will discover how the river sees the moon

She stands at the water’s edge,

The river bank is stiff and rustly with leaves

She dips a pointed finger into the water

Her body jolts as the river deals her an icy bite

“Tomorrow I will swipe the crispy leaves from my door” she says

“Tomorrow I will unstring my peppers to store in a glass jar”

Tomorrow she counts and packs the wizened peppers

But today she feels sleepy.

Feeling fuzzy and warm she watches how the leaves are sucked up by the breeze

They dance and spiral above her head; golden, burnt orange and red

She stands at the water’s edge

Noticing how, the frost, a winter craftsman,

Came in the night and painted the naked branches,

She loves how they glitter and sparkle in the daylight.

“Tommorrow I will make beeswax candles” she says

“Tommorrow I will read into the long night”

Tommorrow she makes and stacks her candles

Later that night she takes such pleasure in reading by candle light

She smiles as she watches the candle light flicker on the wall

Before she pauses to turn each page.

She stands at the water’s edge

The Primroses are in bloom

And they cheer up the river bed with their delicate charm

A pang of grief passes through her as she remembers someone dear

“Tommorrow I will work the earth” she says

“Tommorrow I will plant seeds”

Tommorrow she rakes, she plants and she waters

At the end of a hard days work,

She eats and then she sleeps.

And she dreams of a woman wearing a necklace of stringed peas.

She stands at the water’s edge

The sun beating down on her shoulders

Beckoning her freckles to cut loose and add spice

To her alabaster skin.

“Tommorrow I will strip and swim in the sun” she says

“Tommorrow I will float on my back and surrender”

Tommorrow she will feel beautiful as the water engulfs her

And she moves so silently within it

But she sings as she swims and swims as she sings

Later that night she sleeps soundly and deeply.

She dances through the crunchy leaves

Until she stands at the water’s edge

Her belly full of porridge and berries

She wonders why autumn is her much loved season?

“Tommorrow I will know why I love autumn so” she says

“Tommorrow it will be clear to me”

Tommorrow she takes a pen and she writes..

Autumn moons and autumn skies

Autumn colours are drawn on my soul

They dance and spiral above my head, golden, burnt orange and red.

The Aegean

Sometimes is it good to get up early to watch the sun rise. This morning we enjoyed the clear light as it permeated the olive trees below us, covering them in a silvery shadow – a vision that only plays out at this time of the day! The sea was calm and the air was fresh, dogs lay basking on the beach before us as we walked by, sleeping off their night time activity no doubt.

I arrived in Izmir on Tuesday night and now I am in a little seaside town called Urkmez. I will be here for 3 weeks or so before I head to Van. As I am sitting here writing this, I am looking over at what used to be the ancient Ionian city of Lebedos. Lebedos was one of the 12 cities of the Ionian league (Ancestors of the Greeks) Teos, another city is not far away and Ephesus, the largest Ionian settlement is about one and a half hours down the road. But whereas Ephesus and Teos have had excavations take place up until the present day, Lebedos is completely untouched. There are a few structures visible, like walls and columns etc but the large proportion is still underground. So visiting it does make you feel like you are exploring the unexplored. I am just really grateful to have this view here today!

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