Suntelia, Unbound


Suntelia, Unbound is a descriptive, scene-oriented poem about a journey through Ancient Greece and all of the landmarks and themes this evokes. It was inspired by Heraclitus’s quote about the ever-changing nature of life (quoted in the final line) and the concept of final causes versus the impossibility of an ending, as expressed by Spinoza. I alternate between the use of telos and suntelia, two different Greek notions of an end, but emphasize the latter (see in the title and Scene VI) as I feel it is more meaningful in the context of the poem.  The main theme is a sense of an unbound ending, a Spinozan immanence, and also alludes to before the crucifixion in the gospel according to St. Matthew, where the word suntelia is written in reference to becoming unbound from the earth in the second coming.


Scene I :

Nafplio. Footsteps pressed by epochs past rise over the Acropolis. A breeze from the Argolic sprays lifts beyond the scalloped shore. From heaven’s height the moon glow dips to dance in the swells of the earth. Human feet pedal upwards to mount the Palamidi steps, rising and longing. Yet the moon shines on the Elms and in their earnest stillness, the swirls of the sea recede again. The tides fall back. Order is restored. And the footsteps begin their descent.

Why stay we on the earth unless to grow?

Scene II :

Athens. An empty court of sepulchral stones. Tablets of the Law thrown down. Cast to the mountain’s base, likes the stone of anathema. Cleric muttering: The sordid ricochet of censure – Niddui folds into Chērem. The gravel of a final cause, and the echo of diaphanous truth unseen and sancrosanct. Stigmatas printed in the canvas of skin, inscribed to the Galatians. Ever present, ever brooding, our fair End is never far away. And yet that does not keep Man from searching.

There is no telos on the ground.

Scene III :

Lampasacus. Eunuchs wander through candle lit walls; their shadows escape them. Holy is the place where thoughts arise unsought. Bedchamber attendants bow and stand. Theophylact of Ohrid ; these truths sift through forgotten sighs. The sun turns freely and time wanes behind the dipping moon. All entities move but nothing remains still, save for the clockwork of the stars.

In the Harem of the Holy Place, all good men doth lie.

Scene IV :

Constantinople. A table stretches beneath folded hands. The abbot sits on his axis of Reason in a monastery that bounds itself from the bedlam. Outside monks shift in cloaks, brushing softly with pacing thighs. The moonlight circles out to cast its glow on the backstreets of the jilted. A crowd spills into the pale-cloaked streets. Cleaving to civic, they rule and forage their way through the very corners of deceit. A stampede to illuminate truths, ruined truths that retreat unarmed yet always ready.

There they recoil to a stasis unfound.

Scene V :

Cadmea. A jail beneath the acropolis of Thebes. Enclosed chambers of dampening Time. Feeble limbs sprawled beneath concaved chests. Hollowed dreams beget tomorrow’s trials. Seasoned in their credence, they are further dragged to the destitute Nature of Man. Each the same, yet here they live and die. Forsaken in parallel corridors, vis-à-vis dredging cells. A guard appears on the outside wall :

His is a shadow fixed in sight.

Scene VI :

Suntelia, Unbound. The sky radiates downwards where the horizons drains the land. No stone left unturned. The echo cannot sound without a wall. The moon glares into the writhing sea, it douses itself in a thrashing waltz, puling the earth nearer, skirting Time at nigh. The moonlight glows and murmurs, its phantom waves surround us:

i. Why stay we on the earth unless to grow?

ii. There is no telos on the ground.

iii. In the Holy Place all good men lie.

iv. Truths recoil to a stasis unfound.

v. A shadow fixed in sight.

vi. πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει

[All is in flux and nothing abides.]

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