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Published by jack elliot

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 

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