Heraklion, Crete – 1992
by Sarah Russell

“I hope for nothing. I fear nothing. I am free.”
       – Kazantzakis’ epitaph

We weren’t married yet, that day
we left the marketplace
where butchers and lace makers
share cramped alleyways
to climb to Kazantzakis’ grave,
a pilgrimage of sorts, to honor the man
whose writing cast him from the Church
to be buried alone on Martinego Bastion.

The cross is wooden, stark, bound
with leather thongs; the stonework rough,
unyielding as the man. We decided
he got the best deal after all —
a view of Heraklion and the sea, a breeze
even on an August day, a grave as singular,
as elemental as his thought.

Unlike Kazantzakis, we came to Crete
caught in convention, hoping for everything,
fearing failure. We had loved before.
But, certain the author would approve,
we kissed there, rested our feet
on the Venetian wall, shared
a candy bar, practiced being free.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO:  Resting our feet on the Venetian wall near Kazantzakis’ gravesite on Martinego Bastion, Heraklion, Crete (1992).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: After traveling in Crete and Greece, we married that year on New Years Eve. Twenty-three years later, that day and the picture I included remain our favorite vacation memories.

Russell bio pic

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sarah Russell has returned to her first love after a career teaching, writing and editing academic prose. Her poetry has appeared in Red River Review, Misfit Magazine, The Houseboat, Shot Glass Journal, Bijou Poetry Review, Silver Birch Press, and Poppy Road Review, among others. Visit to see more of her poems.