Bernard Spencer (who I have previously identified as a "neglected poet") spent a great deal of time in the Mediterranean as an employee of the British Council, and became stranded in Egypt during the Second World War. His poems about the region -- first Greece, then to Egypt and other parts of the Middle East, and later to Spain -- are lovely and evocative.
Helen Lavinia Cochrane, "Song of Spring" (c. 1939)
Aegean Islands 1940-41
Where white stares, smokes or breaks,
Thread white, white of plaster and of foam,
Where sea like a wall falls;
Ribbed, lionish coast,
The stony islands which blow into my mind
More often than I imagine my grassy home;
To sun one's bones beside the
Explosive, crushed-blue, nostril-opening sea
(The weaving sea, splintered with sails and foam,
Familiar of famous and deserted harbours,
Of coins with dolphins on and fallen pillars.)
To know the gear and skill of sailing,
The drenching race for home and the sail-white houses,
Stories of Turks and smoky ikons,
Cry of the bagpipe, treading
Of the peasant dancers;
The dark bread
The island wine and the sweet dishes;
All these were elements in a happiness
More distant now than any date like '40,
A. D. or B. C., ever can express.
Bernard Spencer, Aegean Islands and Other Poems (1946).
The "grassy home" (line 6) to which Spencer refers is England.
Helen Lavinia Cochrane, "Almond Blossom, Majorca"
The dour thing in olive trees
is that their trunks are stooped like never dying crones,
and they camp where roads climb, and drink with dust and stones.
The pleasant thing is how in the heat
their plumage brushes the sight with a bird's-wing feeling:
and perhaps the gold of their oil is mild with dreams of healing.
The cold thing is how they were
there at the start of us; and one grey look surveyed
the builder imagining the city, the historian with his spade.
The warm thing is that they are
first promise of the South to waking travellers:
of the peacock sea, and the islands and their boulder-lumbered spurs.
Bernard Spencer, Ibid.
"The dour thing . . . The pleasant thing . . . The cold thing . . . The warm thing . . ." is a nice back-and-forth progression. And Spencer captures the telescoping of Time -- with the olive tree as a constant and as a mute witness -- very well: ". . . and one grey look surveyed/the builder imagining the city, the historian with his spade."
I spent my teenage years in a part of California where wild peacocks roamed the dry hills. I remember the brilliant, ever-turning blues of their heads and bodies and tails. (And the sound of their screams!) Thus, I think Spencer's "the peacock sea" is exactly right.
Helen Lavina Cochrane, "Olive Gatherers" (c. 1939)