"Villa by the Sea," Arnold Böcklin, 1878, Kunstmusem, Winterthur, Switzerland, Wikiart photo.
“Villa by the Sea,” Arnold Böcklin, 1878, Kunstmusem, Winterthur, Switzerland, Wikiart photo.

My children of Ægina, rules of gods and men are
Conflicted, when truces are broken upon souls of
Dead Targetiers, husbands and sons, who lay on
Their shields sun-rotting, unburied and accursed,
Atrocities of warring armies, heart-blood spilled,
Specters forever in roaming angst, grief crippling
Greek families of Ægean islands and sea-towns.

Absent are simple pleasures: music by which to
Read, holding my children during peaceful nights.
Chorus of mountaintop pines o’erlooking blood-
Stained brine turned tormenting to my ears,
Night glow of burning ships, smoke plumes by
Day, tainted reefs beneath noontide sun, bodies
And flotsam washing upon Athens’ weary shores.

My children of Ægina, our enemies, Lacedemonians,
Claim Athenian prosperity caused this strife, for
Undo tariffs, armies and navies clashed, protecting
Trade routes amongst Ægean Islands. Consumed by
Sword-death, our ships and cities burned, yet as Sea
Lords, we persevered, slaying Admiral Mindarus,
Heroic might on cerulean welling waves.

My children of Ægina gather sticks, bundled-bound
Upon the beach, as we fell beloved ocean pines,
Noble trees burned for funeral pyres. For tonight dead
Sailors, enemy and our own, shall be consumed in
Roaring blaze, smoke that blackens sky and soul,
Shore-lights heart-felt on colliding triremes, pestilence
Of war, sparks arising, each prayers for peace.

As enemy boats of sail round our headlands, my
Children of Ægina, more duties we must perform.
Like sticks of pine, gather your clothes, bundled-
Bound on oxen-drawn carts. On morrow’s dawn,
We must abandon your island hearth-home for
Garrisons distant-strong. Take solace in our gods,
Armed soldiers in procession on open seaside roads.

My children of Ægina, learn from your mothers and
Sisters, enduring months of heavy grief. Bundle-bound
Your hearts together with song-words of love and praise
To Athena, for we are sinew that binds our country fast,
Brave deeds by muscled backs, we suffer as corpses
Spread, as ships burn, stoic matriarchs of sacred
Islands and our protector, sovereign Greece.

Panoramic view of Ægina Island, Wikimedia photo.
Panoramic view of Ægina Island, Wikimedia photo.
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