George Seferis – Collected Poems

On Aspalathoi

Sounion was so nice that day of the Annunciation.

Spring again.

Just a few green leaves around the rust-colored rocks

the red soil and the aspalathoi

pointing out their ready long thorns and the yellow flowers.

A bit further the ancient columns, strings of a harp still echoing.

Peace.—What could have reminded me of that Ardiaios?

A word by Plato, I think, lost in my mind’s furrows

the name of the yellow bulrush

hasn’t changed since those days.

That evening I found the passage:

‘they bound him hand and foot,’ it says,

‘they flung him to the ground and they flayed him

they dragged him to the side and they gashed

his flesh on the thorny aspalathoi,

and torn to shreds, they went and threw him into Tartarus.’

This way he paid for his crimes in the underworld

the terrible Ardiaios, the miserable Tyrant.

March 31st, 1971

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