Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The Greek God Apollo.
In front of the Athens Academy building the statue of Apollo the lyra player.
Apollo is the Greek God of sun, fertility, prophecy, light, healing, music and poetry.
Poetry has its roots in the Greek past, it is also haunted by the penumbrae of the past.
George Seferis expresses the tremendous weight of this accumulated "burden" of
tradition in the following lines:
"I woke with this marble head in my hands.
It exhausts my elbows and I don't know where to put it down...."
It is the past that the poet tries to forget, but it is always present; a nostalgia for the " lost
glory", the "vanished world", that can never be completely exorcised.
The lure of Hellas has been celebrated not only by the Greeks, but also by a category of
Writers and travelers such as Lord Byron, Shelley and Keats came in search of the
"haunted holy ground" and "the glory that was Greece".
And even if the words of Goethe: "Every civilized man ought in some way to be Greek..."
may sound somewhat remote today, the miracle and the magic remain very much alive.
Yannis Ritsos (1909 - 1991)
The statues left first. A little later
the trees, people, animals. The land
became entirely desert. The wind blew.
Newspapers and thorns circled in the streets.
At dusk the lights went on by themselves.
A man came back alone, looked around him,
took out his key, stuck it in the ground
as though entrusting it to an underground hand
or as though planting a tree. Then he climbed
the marble stairs and gazed down at the city.
Cautiously, one by one, the statues returned.