Artist's Comments

The island gathers, due to its various gifts, a multitude of visitors every year. Between them, many eminent figures, writers, poets, artists- and in their works they have dedicated a multitude of pages, where they describe their memories from their accommodation on the island, by the most colourful way- common element to all of them is the admire, the love and the impression that the island provoked to them.

After Stravonas and Pausanias, in the antiquity, and a series of European excursionists (Chandler, abbey Fourmon) during the possession by the Turks, during our century, we stop in two names: Henry Miller and George Seferis.

Henry Miller

The famous American writer visited Poros around the year of 1938, during his trip in Greece. He describes his impressions by the island in "The Colossus of Marousi”. So, we are reading in “the Colossus of Marousi":

 <<(...) there was the sea, but the coast was there, the goats were climbing on the footpaths, we were watching the lemon forest and this madness that is inside its aroma, was dominating us, concentrating us, was uniting very tight the one with the other, in a delirium of self-abandonment. I don’t know what moved me more; the lemon trees that were in front of us, for the view of Poros, like I suddenly understood that we were sailing through its roads. If there is a dream that I love more than anything, is to float on the land. When you arrive in Poros you have the illusion that you see a deep dream. Suddenly the land binds you from all the sides and the boat is driven to a narrow passing that seems to have no ending. The men and women of Poros are bending on the windows, right over your head. You are passing down their nose. The dawdlers on the sea front are walking as fast as the boat, maybe a bit slower, if they are in the mood.

The island is turning around cubistic scenes, one of walls and windows, one of rocks and goats, one of trees and bushes tortured by the winds and so it goes on and on. Following, there where the coast forms a curve, wild lemon trees are found and there, during the spring time, young and old are getting crazy by the aroma of their juices and their flowers.

The admittance in Poros is a sway and a surge, you let yourself to get twinkled, like a risk free pin-head between masts and nets, in a world that only a painter could know (...). As you float on the roads of Poros, you are so glad like you are reborn. You are so deeply happy so that you could remember her (...)

The boat, the passing, the walls around, the sweet tremble of the ship, the bright jollification, the green snakelike curve of the coast, all these filled faces that bend on the windows over your head, all of these, and the live breath of friendship, likeness, are covering you and are getting inside you, until you blow up like a star and your heart scatters, to scatter in thousand pieces (...)

Million years may pass and I may come and come again to the one or the other planet, like a human, like a devil, like an archangel (I don’t care how and by which way and where), but my legs will not abandon this ship, my eyes won’t stop to see the island, my friends will never get lost. That was the moment that stands, survives from world wars, because it surpasses the same life of the earth.

If I ever reach the total fulfillment of the Being, which is taught by the Buddhists, if I ever choose between reaching to Nirvana or staying behind (…), I’ll say, let me stay back, let me go back and forth like a benign spirit over the roofs of Poros and see down the traveler with a smile of peace and pureness. I see a whole human race to struggle searching for entering the bright and beautiful world. If only they could come here, to disembark, to stay here and all these people to relax >>.

George Seferis

Gearge Seferis passed many days of his vacations in Poros, in “villa Gallini”. There he wrought a series of poems, among which is the great “Kichli” (the bird mavis). Of course, we meet Poros in other of his poems too:

<< Wherever I travel, Greece is hurting me >>.

In the diary of Seferis, we meet marvelous descriptions of the landscape of Poros, full of sensitivity, lyricism, but also a stochastic deepness:

Tuesday, 13 August 1946

<<It has something from Venice: canal, communication between the houses by boats, glamour, leisureliness, sensual temptation (lemon-tree forest etc) – a place for international notable lovers. There is something from the closed place here, with many magic tricks of course, something from a pit of lust, with the moon above, and all day, with the copper of the music of the Coach place. Yesterday evening, as I was going to sleep, I stood for a while on the balcony of my room and was looking at the opposite crests >>.

Also, descriptions of the sunrise, the light, the sea, filled always with thoughts.

Monday 21 October 1946

<< I opened the window-at the open sea, beyond the Coach room, the plate of the sun was big, bitten still by the horizon, it had a colour that I had never seen before, the colour of the cranberries juice, an idea lighter. The sea was not graven, without a breath. The pine needles were still like thorns of sea urchins which lay in the depth of the clear water. Over the line of the horizon, a black ship dragged slowly, like the cloth of Karagkiozis (a bozo), underlined this amazing garland and got lost. Then, heels on the boards of the staircase, suitcases, words, fingers - everybody left.

I went out to the veranda towards the sea, the time was 08:30, and the sun was high. It was impossible to distinguish the night from the silence, the silence and the light from the tranquility. Once the hearing was touching a bang, a distant voice, a high twitter. But all these were in a way, closed somewhere else, like the beat of your heart that you were feeling in a moment and then you were forgetting. The sea had no surface; just the opposite hills weren’t ended up to the line of the earth, but they were reaching beyond down there, starting again one more blur image of their form which faded out smoothly in the depth of a blank. A feeling, that there is another forefront of life. (I write difficultly, trying to avoid general words, trying to describe this indescribably thing). You knew the surface by looking far way the paddles, when they were diving in a dry gleam, like a glass is breaking in the sun, or even – later- when a boat passed under the house with its sails open and empty, totally mirrored in the water, like a picture on a playing card. A feeling that if a minor crack opens in that closed vision, everything could get empty from the four points of the horizon and let you naked and alone, looking for mercy, stammering words without accuracy... >>

The light of Poros is something that had deeply impressed Seferis.

Typical are the- scattered- reports, like:

Tuesday 8 October, in the morning

<<After the swimming: The light is such that absorbs you like the paper absorbs the ink – it absorbs the personality>>.

Monday 2 December

<<I am leaving with some extra “ideas” about the light. It is the greatest thing that that I “discovered” since the time the ship of the return entered the Greek water (Hydra, October 1944). Something of this expresses “the King of Assini” and something the “Kichli”. But I do not know if I could ever express this basic, as I feel, this fundament of life. I know that I have to live with the light. Something more I do not know- I do not know if I can make it >>.

Besides, it isn’t random the fact that the light is coming back continually, as a basic thematic motif, in “Kichli” the great poem of Seferis which was written in Poros (Kichli was the name of a ship, which was sank in the port of Poros).

However, in the diary there are descriptions of the island in other moments too.

Sunday 13 October

<<It is drizzling all day long today. The grace of this rain; the canal has taken the most smooth colourings of grey to white- old- mirror. Clouds that ride the mountains around. From the window, the live aroma of the pine tree>>.

The abstracts from the diaries of Seferis though, could continue for long. For reasons clearly of space, we stop here. We end the report to the poet with abstracts from “Kichli”. The poem has been written in Poros, a thing not random, as the reader is finding out.

The wreckage of "Kichli"

<<This wood that used to cool my forehead the hours that the noon was heating the veins on foreign hands, wants to bloom. Take it, I am giving it to you, take a look, it’s a wood of lemon tree...>> I heard the voice as I was looking the sea to distinguish a ship that was sank for years and was named “Kichli”, a small shipwreck, the masts, broken, were waving bendy in the depth, like tentacles or a memory of dreams, its craft showing a blur mouth of a big dead whale, faded in the water. A big tranquility was spreading. The light Angelic and black, light, a laugh of the waves in the audience of Pontus, tearful laugh, the old beggar is watching you as he is going to step over the invisible plates mirrored in his blood that delivered Eteoklis and Poleinikis.

Angelic and black, day The glyph taste of the woman that poisons the prisoner is going out the wave, cool branch decorated with drops. Sing little Antigoni, sing, sing... I am not talking to you about past things, I am talking about love. Decorate your hair with the thorns of the sun, dark girl- the heart of the Scorpio reigned, the tyrant has left from the inside of the man, and all the daughters of Pontus, Niriides, Graies are running towards the glitters of the rising. Whoever had never loved, shall love, in the light, and you are in a big house with many open windows, running from a room to a room, not knowing from where to look firstly, because the pines will leave and the mirrored mountains and the twittering of the birds too.

The sea will get empty, shattered glass, by the north and the south. Your eyes will get empty by the light of the day, how all the cicadas stop suddenly>>.

(Poros, "Galini", 31 October 1946)

Ioulia Dragoumi

The writer Ioulia Dragoumi, who were passing her holidays in the island during the beginning of the century, describes her impressions with sensitivity and lyricism in her books “Stories of Poros” and “In their island” from where comes the following abstract:

 <<... the sun had just been set and along with the sunset the wind had totally fallen and the sea had become calm. The sky behind the sleeping had become emerald and rosy, and the geraniums at the big pots had lost their bright red colour. The opposite mountains of Peloponnese had a sweet colour of cherry, in the sea, the mirror of the houses of Poros was reaching until the depth with shaky white lines, and in another place the mirror of a cypress was distanced black-green and unending...>>

Eventually, Peter Gray has published in USA the book “ The people of Poros in their island”






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