The Isles of Greece

by Demetrios Capetanakis
The sun is not in love with us,
Nor the corrosive sea;
Yet both will burn our dried-up flesh
In deep intimacy
With stubborn tongues of briny death
And heavy snakes of fire,
Which writhe and hiss and crack the Greek
Myth of the singing lyre.
The dusty fig tree cries for help,
Two peasants kill one snake,
While in our rocky heart the gods
Of marble hush and break.
After long ages all our love
Became a barren fever,
Which makes us glow in martyrdom
More beautiful than ever.
Yet when the burning horses force
Apollo to dismount
And rest with us at last, he says
That beauty does not count.