Manolis Aligizakis

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 this—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 the sea’s virgin salinity
even this—I said—remember

aimlessly before the innocent statues
they shall desecrate and life the whore
they shall name 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 with their fiery
prehistoric evil and theirs the wealth
of the valley and my kin’s reward
blood shed in streets and neighborhoods
where you and I once roamed and played
making plans for achievements and deeds

and you said—it would had been better if we stayed
obedient to the holy and venerable
half truths brought to our lands by easterners
at least they had promised a gleaming Paradise


Manolis Aligizakis