By Angelos Sikelianos 1884–1951 Angelos Sikelianos

Translated from the Modern Greek by A.E. Stallings Read the translator's notes

With her hair closely cropped up to the nape
Like Dorian Apollo’s, the girl lay on the narrow
Pallet, keeping her limbs stiffly frozen
Within a heavy cloud she could not escape...

Artemis emptied her quiver—every arrow
Shot through her body. And though very soon
She’d be no virgin, like cold honeycomb,
Her virgin thighs still kept her pleasure sealed...

As if to the arena, the youth came
Oiled with myrrh, and like a wrestler kneeled
To pin her down; and although he broke past

Her arms that she had thrust against his chest,
Only much later, with one cry, face to face,
Did they join lips, and out of their sweat, embrace...

Source: Poetry (June 2011).


This poem originally appeared in the June 2011 issue of Poetry magazine

June 2011


Angelos Sikelianos was born in 1884 on the Ionian island of Lefkada. He and his first wife, the American heiress Eva Palmer, tried to resurrect the Delphic Games with a festival of theater, music, dance, athletics, and handicrafts. He died in Athens after accidentally ingesting Lysol.

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Poems by Angelos Sikelianos

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Relationships, Men & Women, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

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