Poem 74 – Agrigento

Bathed in sunlight for two thousand years
Casting shadows on the dusty ground
The great temples of Agrigento stand in silence
Not betraying their ancient builders’ hopes or fears
As they loom atop their mighty mound.

Creased columns stretching to the skies
Capped with mighty stones.
Within are the homes of the ancient gods –
Before in their honour the oxen died
As gods watched from their hidden thrones.

Sandy steps climb to their feet
Below the heaven’s blue
While beyond the temples and the olive grove
The Middle Sea and the shore doth meet –
This is where the sailors’ voyage was through.

Though Odysseys ended long ago
Their temples’ fame still grows –
The yellow stones still crowning the hills.
Where are those gods? None will ever know
But the great temples rising o’er Agrigento.

***

Dear readers,

I trust that you are well. Perchance you have heard of Agrigento – an impressive collection of ancient Greek temples on Sicily. If ever you are in the area, I would definitely recommend a visit. The site is one of those places where you could spend a whole day easily. Unfortunately, I do not live in Sicily – in fact I live some way away…

Some time ago, King Ludwig II of Bavaria was given a set of paintings of Italy, one of which was of Agrigento. He wrote the following verse:
Stil ist es in dir nur, Akrogentium, es wirket kunst nichts und wissenschaft mehr, bloss noch die nahr in in dir.
Which loosely translates as
Style, it is only in you, Agrigento, it worketh art and science nothing more, nor nutritious in just in you.
A very pleasing verse. Do you like it?

Kind regards.

The Hapless Neo-Romantic

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