Istrian Oak - a poem for peace - a villanelle

Croatia, Istria, Istrian Oak, Poreč

Istria is the beautiful wooded peninsula in North Croatia, almost directly across the Adriatic from Venice, in Italy. The area has an interesting connection with Venice - the characteristic painted mooring poles that punctuate Venice's canals are made of Istrian Oak. Istrian Oak has two special properties. It does not rot or decay under water, and in fact it forms a bloom of phosphorescent algae which glows slightly in the dark, very useful for finding your mooring in the days before electric light.

Poreč is an ancient Roman settlement on the Istrian peninsula. The oldest street in Poreč is the Decumanus. The Decumanus, or Via Decumana, in a Roman garrison settlement, was an east-west road separating the tenth cohort of the Legion from the ninth. Though most of the Roman buildings are gone, some ruins remain, and parts of the cobbled street are original.

Modern Poreč is a lively tourist destination with a colourful market, fine beaches with perfect clear water, and many small shops and boutiques, including traditional goldsmiths, a craft that has been plied here since time immemorial. I heartily recommend it for your next holiday.

When I visited Poreč, it was in the aftermath of some very troubled times, which I won't dwell on. That was a dark time, which left its mark on communities, setting neighbour against neighbour.

poreč and the istrian peninsula, croatia
poreč and the istrian peninsula, croatia | Source
silvered and blued with spiral stroke /bright in venetian midday haze
silvered and blued with spiral stroke /bright in venetian midday haze | Source

Istrian Oak

Let no-one hurt peaceloving folk
or turn their hearts to warring ways
while sunlight plays on Istrian oak,

silvered and blued with spiral stroke,
bright in Venetian midday haze.
Let no-one hurt peaceloving folk

who meet to share a drink, a joke
with neighbours in the cobbled maze
while sunlight plays on Istrian oak

and bustling market stalls revoke
the cruel Decumanus days.
Let no-one hurt peaceloving folk

or fuel their prejudice to poke
the wolf asleep with sheep that graze
while sunlight plays on Istrian oak,

fingering wisps of woodland smoke
where neither cross nor crescent blaze.
Let no-one hurt peaceloving folk
while sunlight plays on Istrian oak.

the ancient decumanus, poreč
the ancient decumanus, poreč | Source

More by this Author


Comments 32 comments

maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

Lovely poem that captures much of this beautiful but troubled land...Thank you, Larry


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thanks Larry. In the following year, I visited Dubrovnik, another beautiful and historic place. The shelling of Dubrovnik in 1991, a town of no military or strategic importance (except in earlier centuries), was a crime of the basest kind. Wholly unnecessary.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

Man's inhumanity to man...will it ever goddam end..? I know of where you speak from my wife who was born in Dubrovnik in 1940...Her memories are of a beautiful seaport with huge food markets, gypsies, and lots of flowers everywhere...She was placed in a Catholic nunnery when the Germans arrived and stayed there until the end of the war...


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

You can still walk all round the city on the parapet sea-wall, and look down on the red tile rooftops. Probably 90% are new, though in the original style. Only 10% escaped the shelling.


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

Thank you, Paraglider for this lovely poem and article which speeks about goodness of your heart. Your poem brought the tears in my eyes...I do not need to explain why.


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 7 years ago from Asheville, NC

Just beautiful.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Tatjana - I was hoping you would find this one. I've enjoyed revisiting your beautiful country via your travel and walking hubs. Happy to offer something in return.

Suziecat - thank you :)


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 7 years ago from India

What a wonderful poem - peaceloving folk and Istrian oak just seem to go together! Somehow it seems to allay the memory of past suffering.

Oh, and a perfect villanelle!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thank you Shalini.

Oak is durable, as peace should be.


Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

Tatjana-Mihaela 7 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

As soon as I saw the e-mail that you published the Hub, I knew I had to visit it even before I saw the title.

He, he, telepathy works. Thank you so much!


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

The wonders of techno-telepathy :)


quicksand profile image

quicksand 7 years ago

"Let no-one hurt peaceloving folk"

Pity everyone does.


ColdWarBaby 7 years ago

There is no way to Peace. Peace is the Way.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Quicksand - and sometimes it's self inflicted, once fomented by manipulators.

CWB - yes.


free4india profile image

free4india 7 years ago

Hey i see mention of Bhagavat Geetha in your profile....... Have you read it?


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Free4india - yes, several times, in various English translations of course.


Jess Killmenow profile image

Jess Killmenow 7 years ago from Nowheresville, Eastern United States

May peace be everywhere. Thank you for this wonderful article


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Jess - it will take time, but it's worth clinging to.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Great Hub, great poem - thanks so much, Para.

Love and peace

Tony


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thanks Tony :)


osws_bluemoon profile image

osws_bluemoon 7 years ago

Excellent villanelle. You've just set me my next challenge - to write one of these. I love this meter and I'm impressed with the natural feel to your rhyme. Glad I got to read it :)


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thanks bluemoon - glad we discovered each other's poetry today :)


heyju profile image

heyju 7 years ago

Beautiful poem, I haven't been fortunate enough to travel but reading your hubs makes me feel like I am there, thank you.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thanks heyju - if you ever do get the chance, Croatia is highly recommended :)


Quilligrapher profile image

Quilligrapher 7 years ago from New York

A truly inspiring read. Thank you, Para.

Q.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Thanks Q - It's a place I hope to revisit some day.


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Paraglider, Shalini referred me to your hub after reading a villanelle I wrote this week. Yours ls lovely as is the hub. Thanks.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Storyteller - glad you found your way here. Always welcome :)


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

yes Dave peace is the way and very important too,

I see the street and it is a typical European street, like in Malta, narrow, you must have ebnjoyed the place, it seems nice too, wooded peninsual,

thanks so much Dave for sharing beautiful places and your poem too, Maita


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Maita - I'm hoping for the chance to revisit this area some day, like half the other places I've been. Life's too short :)


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Paraglider, I enjoyed your villanelle, and the background story and photos. Regards, snakeslane


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 4 years ago from Kyle, Scotland Author

Hi Snakeslane - good to 'see' you again. Thank you for the visit :) This corner of Croatia is very special.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working