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



                       If you lament for your youth why you live?

                       Here is the land of the glorious death

                       rush into the battle, give your last breath

                       without hesitation at this very point

                       long for — it’s easy to long, not to find —

                       your burial site, soldier, the most appropriate for you

                       then, look here, choose the soil

                       where you will lean and rest

                       Today I turn thirty years old, Messologi, January 22, 1824

Who could be a writer

if one had something better to do?

Lord Byron asked his Greek servant

as he looked through the open window

of his old crumbly house

at the hordes of the Ottoman Empire soldiers

encircling the walls of the city.

He had just finished

the first verse of the poem

which was meant to be his last.

He turned thirty years old that day.

Three months later

the strange, civil-warred place

which he had chosen as his homeland

would grace him his wish:

a death worthy of his name

an heroic exit from the unbearable boredom of poesie


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