The Caryatid

This poem was written in response to seeing the Caryatid on display at the British Museum and reflecting on Greece’s history.

Sustain.Able

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Across all of Athens, we used to stand

Six sisters sculpted from alabastrine marble

and tinged with gold

bearing gifts to Artemis

To our West bloomed Athena’s favour

a tree drooping with olives

next to the altars of Erechtheus’s kin

where Athena’s snake roamed

Saltwater sprung where Poseidon’s trident struck

flanked by the bones of Athen’s founding kings

and to the East stood Athena Polias

tall and proud, protectress of all in the city

Until strangers came upon our land

First the Christians with their Theotokos,

Who fell by the hands of the Franks

Then the Ottomans flood the marbles red

Followed by the British, with their greedy hands

Prising me from my sisters

Under the cover of night

When I awoke from my uneasy slumber

I was trapped in a prison of glass

2000 miles away from all I know

How I yearn for the scent of oil burning in Athena’s golden lamp!

How I yearn to feel the Greek sun shining upon the temple from whence I came!

How I yearn to hear the ocean waves meeting Athen’s shores once again!

For centuries now I stand alone

in a strange country where the rain goes on and on

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