The Greeks gathered for war.
The breath-taking island of Salamis
that hostile hands had torn from them
lay in view of the Athenian harbour.
Now friends from another island
have come to fit out our ships.
The English have never much liked
the sweet soil that is Europe’s.
Continent of the modern Hellenes,
protect Pireus! Save the Acropolis!
Gifts from the island? Who needs
a whole forest of uninvited ships?
One night I was washing in the yard,
above me a sky of jostling stars –
like salt on an axe, each beam –
the barrel near-frozen to the brim.
The gates were shut and locked;
believe me, the earth is strict.
You won’t find a principle cleaner
than the truth there is in fresh linen.
A star dissolves like salt in the barrel.
The ice-cold water blackens.
A cleaner death, saltier troubles,
and the earth is more truthful and terrible.
Tradução de Alistair Noon, tirados daqui.