“Like Oleander”, “Navigating Silence” and “Tiresias, the Seer (a poem in 9 Tankas)”

Three poems by Effie Pasagiannis

Like Oleander

The sun was blinding then,
across the eastern Mediterranean,
I watched her fingers brush the greenery aside,
going for the oleander,
I watched for movement
of a gloved hand adjusting a veil,
of an elongated leg brushing up against silk chiffon,
of honey curls swishing from side to side,
of that slight crease preceding a smile.
I followed her into the woods,
where shuttered village homes
stood in shadowed rows of cypress trees,
I walked along trails of scent, Samsara,
with a hint of citrus in the air.
I hopped along pretending I was
as ethereal as she,
as everything she touched,
as everything she breathed.
I watched her enter the winding lake
that afternoon in June,
shimmering against the light,
she could have been fairy dust,
everything was just
too beautiful,
too fragile,
too much.

Navigating Silence

Beyond binary opposites,

the noise of corrosive dissent,

there exists the limitless

and the sublime

mass contained in the now

is freedom in lava flow,

seeping into bedrock

forming reveries of basalt

while mountains of rage recede,

frame after frame of flitting light

melding into calcite white,

glacial blue, volcanic black,

interwoven valleys of flickering gems

all within grasp

if only you’d listen to this stillness

of time lacking presence, if only

you’d listen to the prescient void

of heaviness in light, if only

you’d listen to the silence of landscape,

of sound stretched to its ultimate end,

drifting on vastness of smoky water,

mist rising into the glimmering sky above, if only

you’d listen

just listen

It’s the crack in the stones I brought home


it’s solitude delivered on a black sand beach

it’s a wish in a sculpture garden one afternoon


it’s where hopes stand erect

on the edge of heaven and space


it’s the sound of surrender


Tiresias, the Seer (a poem in 9 Tankas)

Drifting, in deep sea

lulled to sleep by the rhythm

as if in a womb

embraced by warm blue water

immersed in fulgent daylight

Then came the trigger

engulfed in stone-throwing waves

the gods were angry

leaving gashes in the hull

everyone caught in their wrath

Time and time again

was of the utmost essence

time of arrival

the call of the port beyond

ten minutes stretched to ten more

and I was the ship

and I was the traveler

trying to make it

to the other side, on land

I was also the captain

Held on to the wheel

as if gravity of life

expectant, restless

heavy with bags of panic

forcing me to a back seat

The anchor was dropped

and the gates were flung open

I stood again caught

in the midst of the mad herd

moving to someplace, not here

I thought of nothing

surrendered to the chaos,

the blur of a crowd,

then an ancient figure came

close, an epitome of white

gleaming like the golden fleece

waves collapsing in waves,

time melding into time,

flames of beautiful hope

something imploding within

I am holding on

now to stillness from above,

sublime clarity,

all is variegated,

distinct, I am in no rush.

About the Author

Effie Pasagiannis

Effie Pasagiannis is a first generation Greek-American lawyer, poet and curator based in NYC. Effie has attended workshops at the Poets House and has appeared as a featured poet at the Bowery Poetry Club and Arlo Hotels. She recently completed a collection of poems, primarily concerned with themes of loss, immigration, alienation and the search for self-concept clarity and a meaningful existence. One of her poems from this collection was featured in the September issue of Snapdragon Journal. Through her curatorial work, Effie creates a safe space for artists and poets to collaborate and showcase their work without fear of judgement.

Read more work by Effie Pasagiannis.