restricted access Salamis in Cyprus
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SALAMIS IN CYPRUS . . . and Salamis, whose mother-city is now the cause of our troubles. AESCHYLUS, THE PERSIANS* Sometimes the midday sun, sometimes handfuls of light rain and the beach covered with fragments of ancient jars. The columns insignificant; only the ruined church of St. Epiphanios revealing—dark, sunken—the might of the golden Empire. Young bodies, loved and loving, have passed by here; throbbing breasts, shells rose-pink, feet fearlessly skimming the water, and arms open for the coupling of desire. The Lord upon many waters,* here upon this crossing. Then I heard footsteps on the stones. I didn't see any faces; they'd gone by the time I turned. But the voice, heavy like the tread of oxen, remained there in the sky's veins, in the sea's roll over the pebbles, again and again: "Earth has no handles 199 for them to shoulder her and carry her off, nor can they, however thirsty, sweeten the sea with half a dram of water. And those bodies, formed of a clay they know not, have souls. They gather tools to change them; they won't succeed: they'll only unmake them if souls can be unmade. Wheat doesn't take long to ripen, it doesn't take much time for the yeast of bitterness to rise, it doesn't take much time for evil to raise its head, and the sick mind emptying doesn't take much time to fill with madness: there is an island . . . "* Friends from the other war, on this deserted and cloudy beach I think of you as the day turns— those who fell fighting and those who fell years after the battle, those who saw dawn through the mist of death or, in wild solitude beneath the stars, felt upon them the huge dark eyes of total disaster; and those again who prayed 200 when flaming steel sawed the ships: "Lord, help us to keep in mind the causes of this slaughter: greed, dishonesty, selfishness, the desiccation of love; Lord, help us to root these out . . . "* — Now, on this pebbled beach, it's better to forget; talking doesn't do any good; who can change the attitude of those with power? Who can make himself heard? Each dreams separately without hearing anyone else's nightmare. — True. But the messenger moves swiftly and however long his journey, he'll bring to those who tried to shackle the Hellespont the terrible news from Salamis. Voice of the Lord upon the waters. There is an island. Salamis, Cyprus, November '53 2Ol ...


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