Posted by Admin on 27 July 2006, 12:00 am

Your letter written while at sea
evoked sporadic isles with red
anemones abloom, the myrtle
Phaedra pierced, the pallid
asphodel, on steeps that lift
their terraced rock from blue
and white Hellenic seas the young
Thucydides once braved – his
trireme multi-oared:
evoked those times when Pindar
hymned the victors of the Games –
in fact and fantasy would trace
their ancient lineage:
when Aeschylus in ‘goat song’¹
slew the cuckold, Agamemnon – he
but lately home from Troy:
when comic Aristophanes, more
bawdy than our native Bard,
tweaked noses undeterred:
when masters of philosophy
with logic governed thought
when ethics were discussed
in Academe:
and when ‘sweet-smiling’ Sappho
sang so fervidly of love.
In Athens you with wonder saw
the Parthenon on high, denuded
of its cella’s frieze exchanged
for Elgin’s gold. Again at sea
admired, you said, what Nero
planned – a four mile cleft
thro’ solid rock it took a
Greek to cleave.
But when in Ephesus you walked
where Paul once trod, you did
not so report. I fear those
stalwart dancing Greeks quite
monopolised your brain –  with
strophe and antistrophe left
magic in their train².

¹ goat-song = tragedy in Greek.
² in the Greek theatre the chorus moved from side to side to alternate strophes or stanzas.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.
This work may not be reproduced without prior permission of the author.

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