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Ilya Tourtidis

Ilya Tourtidis was born in Greece in 1949. He emigrated to Australia when he was four years old and to Canada when he was fifteen. Educated at the University of Victoria, he worked as a teacher and later as a counselor in the Comox Valley where he now resides. He was co-winner of the Gerald Lampert Award in 1994 for his first book of poems Mad Magellan’s Tale (Sono Nis Press, 1993). A subsequent collection of his poetry, The Spell of Memory was published by Oolichan Books (2004). This was followed by two further books, Path of Descent and Devotion (Libros Libertad, 2009)) and Bright Bardo (Libros Libertad, 2011). In addition to poetry, Ilya Tourtidis has also self published eight eBooks of various genres on the Kobo platform.

The Chorus

Behind the allure,
behind the blur of truth and illusion
eclipsed only by gasps of non-being,
we wonder what your mouth will say.

There are so many horizons in you,
so many white birds and ocean flowers,
so many vows and words
and ancient meadows.

So tell us again what you desired
that we may remember.

Tell us again what you found
that we may never forget.

Tell us again the things you chose
that we might pin them
to the canopy of grace
above your head.

Behind The Barricades

Down there
behind the barricades
where spring waits for our consent,
and where the self is kindled
into flesh, joints, and bones,
flames the longing
that separates forever.
Its veinless body shivering
through shades of meaning
like a tiny heartbeat
trying hard not to stumble
back into the void.
And all we can do is watch
and slide down the glints and angles
of our pens, and loose ourselves
beneath our tongues.

Yet even there
in all those thaws and reflections,
in all that disorder staring back at us
against the forming of light,
this longing flares like stolen fire.
Even there it herds the fallen now,
very much persuaded that the eye
which covered it with glances
and roused it into existence,
was more than just grammar
or the blind force of opposites
still scratching about
in the abyss.

Romancing Eternity

The spectacle goes on and on
turning the daily ceremony of being
into imitation.
It is there you bloom
like a stemless flower
enthroned among your thoughts.

There you lick the grail off your lips
and romance eternity with ink stained hands,
trying to free yourself from the harness
of dark sonnets you wear as a disguise.

There is no enchantment
that can ease the weight you bear.
No light that can shine back
through the discourse
in which you are wedged.
No way to retrace your steps
back into the fray where all things
are made new without dying.

So you continue to kneel
wasted beyond grief,
wondering by whose permission
you are contained,
even as the silence
piles high upon you.


From Romancing Eternity
by Ilya Tourtidis
© 2017 Ilya Tourtidis
Published by Ekstasis Editions