POEM BY HARRIS VLAVIANOS
LORD BYRON JUST BEFORE, JUST AFTER
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