Dawn at Saint Anna’s Skete

By Scott Cairns b. 1954 Scott Cairns

Agion Oros, 2006

The air is cool and is right thick with birdsong
as our bleary crew files out, of a sudden
disinterred from three sepulchral hours of prayer
into an amber brilliance rioting
outside the cemetery chapel. With bits
of   Greek and English intermixed, the monks
invite us to the portico for coffee,
παξιμάδια, a shot of cold ρακί.
As I say, the air is cool, animate
and lit, and in such light the road already
beckons, so I skip the coffee, pound the shot,
and pocket two hard biscuits. And yes, the way
is broad at first, but narrows soon enough.

παξιμάδια — pahximáthia — Greek biscotti; ρακί — rahkeé — Greek grappa

Source: Poetry (July/August 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2013
 Scott  Cairns


Scott Cairns was born in Tacoma, Washington. He earned a BA from Western Washington University, an MA from Hollins College, an MFA from Bowling Green State University, and a PhD from the University of Utah.
Cairns is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Theology of Doubt (1985), The Translation of Babel (1990), Philokalia (2002), Idiot Psalms (2014), and Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems (2015). His writing has . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Travels & Journeys, Religion, The Spiritual

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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