Joseph S. Josephides
Aeschylus Replies To Poet Cavafis
Dear poet Cavafis, I hear you felt annoyed in my place,
for my grave’s inscription declared me as ‘Marathon fighter’
instead of ‘great tragedian’. in Marathon I derived courage,
cause our small arms had surrounded myriads of Persians,
also in Salamis’ strait, with our ships built as wooden walls,
only to heap up those of Xerxes and of course his arrogance.
The sea I have set free and she widened my soul.
I cried for the shipwrecked of the invader whom I couldn’t
rescue. I have lamented with the mothers of my enemy.
Devout I buried the dead ones, ours and theirs, then
I went to sing and rejoice for the victory of my country.
I kneaded bread, same yeast, for winners and defeated,
I started writing tragedies for the rich and the poor.
Suddenly Sofocles appeared as a young chorister,
his eyes skywards, as if saying ‘I follow’. That time
Euripides saw light, when our chorus was passing by
his home, where he suckled to grow up and follow us.
My Alexandrian philosopher, have no worries for me.
Marathon and Salamis are nothing less than poetry;
What else was that battle than the savior tragedy!
The cords of your tragedian have turned into robes,
his hands into sails to anticipate the shipwreck.
The tragedy of our country would have been bad
if the mast of ours was broken rather than bended.
Cause I would not shed tears of hydrogen and oxygen
but sole blood, staining cheeks, suffering mardyrdom.
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