Smile Returned

There is a Smile of Love
And there is a Smile of Deceit
And there is a Smile of Smiles
In which these Smiles meet


The opening lines of The Smile by William Blake c.1803

Smile Returned


sun-break pulls in shadows from Vathi’s quay
pelican’s ankle bracelet roped to cleat
bitter glykos, breakfast cake, crumb sparrows
fisherman puttering back from sea
Kolpas Vatheos throws up briny spray
waiter with eye for me, claimed it his name
your throaty laugh at Greek’s ambiguity
my innocence resumed once sleep took us
achy limbs from the heat of last night shared
There is a Smile of Love


airport lounge, slow rotation of ceiling fans
silver glitter flecks deep Aegean blue
landing strip in mountains’ shade, cicadas
couple from hotel, sit stony silent
both damning lack of mobile coverage
heads held aface, no more connection
he steps out, one last smoke, holds phone aloft
catches a glimpse of signal, message pings
answers her 'Who's that?' with a sweet nothing
There is a Smile of Deceit


our fingers not yet comfortable in gold
work their way to warmly combine, settle
in row eight after late embarkation
the airport two sat by us beyond talk
snap metal buckles, pull tight nylon belts
stewardess bobs down congested aisle
wearing her third-flight-today-happy face
four hours to Gatwick, everyone keep nice
if you’re not happy, please would you stow it?
And there is a Smile of Smiles


charter flight departs loaded with cheap memories
it’s all we could afford, such cramped rigid seats
accompanied by strangers to each other
who remain English-polite to bitter end
she beside you, while he beside himself
in 8D, his surly silence deafens
How was your holiday? she reaches out
for a conversation line to cling to
Wonderful! Yours? Her eyes betray her heart
In which these Smiles meet


n.b. NaPoWriMo 2022 Day Three prompt is to write ‘una glosa’, i.e. answer another poet’s quatrain in four stanzas, (one per line), ideally each stanza of ten lines with equal line lengths (syllabletically), with the last line of each taken from the originally selected quatrain.

n.n.b. In writing this poem, I discovered that the Greek word for ‘bay’ (Kolpas) is also used for the gap between waves, the breast fold in women’s clothing, and vagina – correct me if I am wrong, please.

CLP 03/04/2022


  1. Oooh, this is very good this 👍🖤

    1. I was fed Greek food and talked islands and days in the sun last night…must have had an effect! Thank you 😊

      1. It certainly did! 😁🖤

  2. The Kolpa is one of Slovenian rivers. I bet it doesn’t know of its other meanings. 🙂

    1. What the river knows, who knows?

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