The Stray Dogs of Athens (7)

The Parthenon on a May day

by cheri block

I’m in Paris now and have  just returned from touring. My feet are screaming at me from within my little shoes, so we are resting in our small boutique hotel on the Left Bank ( in honor of Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald, and Dos Passos). Here is a short piece I wrote the day we left Athens while gazing at the Acropolis during my breakfast.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Acropolis emerges now, from a collar of greenery and a checkered shirt of small red-roofed homes and apartments. Like an old man’s neck–part lumpish, part shaven–the parapet of rock, brick and marble chunk forms a sturdy but aged support for its crown jewels–the Parthenon and the Temple of Athena Nike.

In the distance the blue Mediterranean provides buoyancy for freighters heading south to Egypt. The motorcycles buzz,well fed but stray dogs lounge and the unemployed, homeless, and young gather in the park below to consider whether to stay or leave Athens.

For a modern girl with her full body tattoo of graffiti, Athens is no Greek myth, but as the Orthodox church bells signal a Sunday service and the clouds lift a bit off the sea, I see 25 Athenian triremes manned by three sets of rowers each, coming into the Port of Pireaus.

A bowl of cereal appears mysteriously in front of me, so I eat.

The noisy main thoroughfare governed by the whirr of buses and the honk of taxis becomes the seven mile walk along the long walls of Ancient Athens in 440 BCE.

The Parthenon’s sculptures and mantels, friezes and Doric columns are restored to their historic splendor.

Citizens in the park stop to talk about Eros.

By a bench sits a middle-aged man with worn leather sandals. At his feet, a mangy shepherd mix stretches his legs in full extension and then relaxes in the Athenian sun.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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13 Responses to The Stray Dogs of Athens (7)

  1. Very vivid description, you make it feel as if the reader was there. The Muses must have been with you.
    Bon séjour à Paris.

    • Cheri says:

      The Muses have followed me to this gorgeous city, Paris.

      We have walked at least 15 miles in two days. Had a lovely dinner at a little place called Christine’s last night.

      I only wish I spoke French.

    • Cheri says:

      Aha! The Elgin Marbles…
      Several of the people around our table during the Athens’ seminar were an Englishman and his German wife.

      On the Acropolis, he said the same thing and his wife shuushed him…


  2. Man of Roma says:

    Your writing, such a beautiful vision Cheri, we were ALL with you thanks to your words dear gal!

    Richard has a gentle heart – this is controversial, I won’t throw the gauntlet here, no, no, no. I’m sure he agrees it is time the British give those marbles back to the Greeks. They have kept them well, the Brits. Desormais, the grand kids of Pericles, they have the technology to go on keeping them.

    Dear Hyperborean gal, French is easy. You already know some Italian. You said you were my slave as for Ancient stuff? Uh uh uh, I took my role so seriously – for sheer historical zeal of course – so here are your Italian Master’s commands … :mrgreen:

    1) practice with Spanish a bit (very easy since, as a Californian gal, you’ll have Mexican people everywhere); 2) frequent at the same time Paul’s blog A LOT (he has Google translator embedded btw) 3) read Asterix or whatever French comics in the original; 3) continue with Dante – or whatever you like – in Italian, the most beautiful passages only, finding help with English translations.

    With such Spanish-Italian-French salad, you’ll potentially be a teacher of romance languages after 6 months, you will be provided a royal path to easy Latin, AND, most of all, you’ll be soo delighted to have pleased you Maitre Romain, ça va sans dire.


    😛 😛 😛

  3. andreaskluth says:

    This reminds us that Albert Einstein was right: There is no such thing as space (=place) or time, only spacetime. Athens today has nothing to do with Athens then. Athens then might exist today, just in a different spacetime…

  4. Man of Roma says:

    Athens today has nothing to do with Athens then

    Sorry to disagree here, dear Andreas – I have to, officially, or my blog wouldn’t have any ‘raison d’être’.

    But, of course, yeees! The pure and wonderful 5th century Athens, that we all ADORE, wow is possibly lost somewhere in the space-time bubbles. Wouldn’t it be absolutely gorgeous to meet out there, THE ALL OF US, and have immense fun – after a lot of vaccination and a phalanx of body guards, it’s more than natural.

    AND, we possibly would love to participate in the Eleusinian mysteries, not far from Athens. I propose, as assistant hierophants – we cannot allow more, they were a closed male caste – Richard, Douglas, the Crotchety man, Phil, Austria and you – of course – and Paul Costopoulos, he is necessary – but I am open to suggestions.

    Women like Cheri, Dafna, Ana etc. would be assistants to Demetra & Persephone.

  5. Cheri says:

    Thank you MOR
    taking it all in here

    why do you think everyone thinks Judge Blahis German?

  6. Richard says:

    Gentle heart, Roma. You’ll ruin my reputation, particularly since my daughter is lurking round here somewhere.

    I’m prepared to sell the Marbles back, but give Cheri a chance to see them first.

  7. andreaskluth says:

    @ MoR: Oops, I didn’t even know that defying spacetime was your blog’s raison d’etre.

    I take it all back. In time. No, in space. I mean, all of it.

    Oh, how I miss Mr Crotchety, btw. Are you out there, Mr C? I don’t want to embarrass you, but we need you.

  8. andreaskluth says:


    Well, I’ve never met Judge Blah.

    Let’s see. Germans. What comes to mind? Riotous sense of humor? Natural spontaneity? Anarchic abandon? Dionysian revelry?

    Am I getting close?

  9. “Paul Costopoulos is necessary”? Well better than necessitous…but scary nonetheless.

  10. Pingback: Where Do Writer’s Write? « Notes from Around the Block

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