Neo-Hellene Poets, an Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry 1750-2018



Even this solemn remnant

of the ancient temple standing

like an anchorite in meditation

by the slope of the tired hill

even this they shall defile

remember it — I said

half-breed men with wide shoulder-blades

and hierodules with exquisite cheekbones

swaying their provocative buttocks

for the amusement of the winds

and for the sea’s virgin salinity

even this they shall defile

remember it — I said

aimlessly before the innocent statues

they shall desecrate and life the whore

they shall call and with stamina

and unyielding persistence they shall

bury the primeval beauty and after

they exhume the ancestral hatred

and guilt, the pneuma they shall imprison

to be guarded by Herculean arms 

and theirs the wealth

of the valley and my kin’s reward

bloodshed in streets and neighborhoods

where you and I once roamed and played

making plans for exploits and deeds

and you said —

it would have been better if we stayed

obedient to the holy and venerable

half-truths brought to our lands by easterners

at least they promised a gleaming Paradise

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