Greek Temples, Agrigento - Gillian Edwards

Greek Temples, Agrigento - Gillian Edwards

The George Crabbe Memorial Poetry Competition
1965 Crabbe Memorial Competition - First Prize
Adjudicator: Ronald Blythe, Dr Anernethy Rev. J. Gilchrist

No Greek ever pays his penny

Back over Styx,I said;

They do not sleep unquiet'

They lived and they are dead.

No wraith in sculptured linen

or marble-naked stirs

among these silent pillars,

this tranquil universe.

The sun whom they should honour

blesses their golden stones

and earth, the timeless mother,

breeds flowers from their bones.

 

Stooping, the guide gathered

a green and classic leaf,

held it beside its image

carved in bas-relief,

and I saw the toothed acanthus,

the olive and the vine,

unchanged from Dionysius'

distant day to mine.

I saw Sicilian features

arrogant , chiselled, tanned,

echoing the profiles

that weather in the sand.

I made my mind a mirror

and found reflected there

wisdom, strength, and beauty,

Hector and Helen the fair,

Plato, Aristotle &emdash;

they are not far to seek,

the roots that I have sprung from,

and half of the are Greek.

The dead, the unremembered

whom time could not fulfil,

walk, but not these people;

they live still.

 

 

Copyright © Gillian Edwards 1965