Statue of Nike
Greek goddess of victory
Statue from the Archaeological museum of Olympia
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.
Yannis Ritsos (1909 – 1991)
Translated by Edmund Keeley