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Monday, June 17, 2013

A GREEK TRAGEDY

by BZ Niditch


Yannis Ritsos (Photo source: http://mhsteger.tumblr.com/)
Even the ancients
would be surprised
when news had
to be whispered
by great old trees
outside captive cities
of knowledge
and you can no longer
listen in
to debate issues
in Athens
of all places,
it leaves us breathless,
that one quiet day
there is silence
by the news waves
on your beautiful side
of the sea,
for it is to language
we turn when rising up
at the amazing sun
with our eyes open,
to comprehend
what this portends,
not since Yannis Ritsos
your great poet
had read his poem
"Epitaphios"
publicly out loud
at the Temple of Zeus
in that dark day in 1936
speaking for the worker
murdered by Mataxas
and his work banned
when life was unveiled
and were exiled to Lemnos,
and then Yannis,
imprisoned and exiled
during the military junta
spoke again to us
from islands of forceful
words in Gyaros
and you made dictatorship
and censorship uncomfortable
to the democratic world,
rise up again partisans,
remember Ritsos
who stands with you
wanting to hear
the latest news
occupying your mind
defying all attempts
at these fresh outbreaks
against all democratic souls,
speak again Yannis Ritsos
to us, and like before
public opinion will rally
by the Temple of Zeus
and only fascism will die.


BZ Niditch's latest international poetry appears in the Alembic, Outlaw Poetry, Vscorpiozine, Exercise Bowler, Third Wednesday, Dead Snakes, Prairie Winds, Big Hammer, Main Street Rag, Epiphany, London Grip.