The beginnings of modern Cypriot poetry, as well as of our literature as a whole, conventionally date to 1878, the year in which Cyprus came under British rule.
ODE TO A TROUBLED ISLE O troubled isle of Aphrodite, Thy verdant beauty has become For others a supreme delight, But not for thee, for enmity Has come between surrounding lands That vie each with the other one For favour from thy bounteous hands. O fabled isle of goddess' birth, Where classic temples proudly stand And mythic heroes walk the earth; 'Tis from the sea she came to be, As told with all the poet's charm, To bring the joys of love that man Might live in peace and do no harm. O ancient isle of copper's fame, How much of history hast thou seen: Of foreign kings who often came To taste thy fruit but stayed to root Their restless hearts within thy soil And give their children what has been A legacy of tears and toil. O blessed isle of Barnabas, Apostles trod upon thy shores, Which saw the martyrs' blood, alas, That spilt with pain, but not in vain, To keep the faith delivered once From persecution's cruel force And fast against its bold affronts. O lovely isle of fruitful vine, Would that thou wert elsewhere placed: A thousand miles away would thine Abundant fields their produce yield To satisfy thy people's want, Who never more would have to taste The turmoil of the old Levant. O thou, my father's native isle, Thy very heart is rent in twain And subject to severest trial, For on this day are cast away Thy people from their pastures green And left to gather what remain Of brighter days that once have been. O troubled isle of Aphrodite, Thy verdant beauty has become For others a supreme delight, But not for thee; for Amity, Who once among thy people dwelt, Has fled before the tyrants' gun But yet shall make her presence felt. David T. Koyzis Hamilton, Ontario, Canada