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!