The Smiling Man

After a long hiatus I offer a piece that came from my recent Greek Odyssey.


The Smiling Man

Ululant sobs of brush-cutters

piercing its Elysian peace,

rivers of tourists cascade

down through old Olympia,

as still as the flowering trees

that colour its ancient sandstones.

Fallen mere centuries past, archaic capitals,

prone like road-blocks, guide the eye

to legend, athleticism, martial triumphs.


In the Sanctuary's arms, shaded

on the banks of broad running grounds,

sits a smiling man. The cool calm

of spring's Arcadian sunlight dapples his face

like a leopard at bay. At his feet,

numbers of the curious await his wisdom,

gravely hoping for revelation, transformation:

many turn away, wandering through Olympic dreams;

some remain, arcane sceptics before a son of Socrates.


Each seeks truth from lies, faith

crying in its wilderness; beauty

in depths of human frailty; and completion.

None will know when the search is done.

The Smiling Man – will he turn the golden key?

The pallid vault of sky, innocent of cloud,

imparts cold mystery. A ravel of leaves

confirms their atrocious fears, whispering:

“Everything is left unsaid”.


For the Smiling Man has taken his leave,

writing only:

     “I have the right to be forgotten

  - where he laid his head.


Chris Hubbard

Athens, 2018.


◄ Bohemia

A Prayer for the Living ►


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