Island of Apollo

Island of Apollo


It’s May on Delos and the island air

is carrying faint scents of spring

from meagre vegetation.

Lizards scuttle into banks of thorn.


Eager Hellenists stride out

past ruined temples, tumbled walls,

down paths of scattered stone and myth,

stirred by the Homeric hymn

to Delian Apollo.

Boat after boat from Mykonos

bring them to this landing-place

of long imagination.


Here was the Cycladean heart.

For silvered centuries it pulsed

with cult and trade and slavery

till pirates tore the place apart,

leaving broken stone and shard

in the hands of archaeologists.

Oh! how scholars would rejoice

should careful trowelling turn up

some fragment of Euripides

or a paean to Apollo!