The Fortress of Aigosthena

Poppy, Olive, Pine... bear silent witness:Photo of Tower of Aigosthena
I did not cast down my bent, brazen shield
before the Sacred Band on Leuktra’s field;
nor did I recluse, Byzantine Monist,
to my cramped cell below these parapets;
nor did I hoist coarse, round, pink, Frankish stone
to polygonal ashlar masonry.

These four broken towers -- grey, roseate--
whose straight, crisp cracks wink with radial sun--
that tube whose painful, luminescent ooze
Phaethon’s hapless father squeezed out upon
the palette of Porto Yermano bay --
these four shattered posts linked by sturdy curve
that would in vain embrace M
ount Kithairon --
cruel granite spine drank thine ankle’s blood
beloved Oedipus!,
even as the King’s bronze nail sank its depths;
and raptly drank as well thine neck’s sweet blood,
blind Pentheus!,
even as the Bacchantes’ wild feet chased game --
these four stiff fingers -- quartet of shadows --
shall not shield me from my shallow defeats,
but only still beckon, though soft and cool,
the sullen Kleombrotus and his horde.

From the brilliant Theban’s blood-drenched sword,
from divine Aphrodite’s Kreusis shore,
they call thee, they call thee oh Spartan lord!

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