Olive Harvest

We milk the twigs with our fingertips, use rakes
to comb the coarse tree pelts. Brooms swipe
the highest branches, rain berries onto waiting sheets.
The old trees breathe relief. Our stretched arms ache.

We trample rue, brush against rosemary,
release their pungent scents. Pausing to rest,
our oily hands, the low bow of the winter sun,
a palette of whites on the slopes of Lefka Ori,

connect us with a timeless ritual, not ours
by right of blood or birth or even steady labour.
We bought the trees, but pay again in sweat, to savour

this hour: as day pours its gold libation into the night,
we pour rivers of purple, green and black,
into sacks. The green oil will smell like grass.

Cora Greenhill