“These are the things that happened in Sicily”

ταῦτα μὲν τὰ περὶ Σικελίαν γενόμενα.

 

Athenians thought Nicias modest, walking with

downcast eyes, but really he was just another

morose millionaire on the

lookout for a lost obol, missing the

minor miracles of life, like the

meteor streaking across the window, the

everyday stars that evanesce from

evening sky, the abrupt

startlement of jays, the woodpecker’s

gentle tap-tap seduction of

soft bodies in hard wood, the

redefinition of grey in every

overcast sky—all this is

missed if eyes are fixed to ground or

face is pressed to pillow, eyes

gummed shut with tears as even

Nicias’ eyes were when he led Athens to its

Golgotha in a Sicilian quarry, hot, dust-dry,

surrounded by spears, where all his

millions couldn’t buy a

cup of water.

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Comments

  • Janet  On August 28, 2012 at 11:23 am

    ‘the woodpecker’s gentle tap-tap seduction of soft bodies in hard wood’

    these are truly beautiful words!

  • Linda Munn  On September 10, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Some of us are like your hero here…unaware of what is going on around us.

  • Fernan Carrière  On April 27, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    inspired

    • fridayam  On April 27, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      Thank you. I was afraid Nicias, the Sicilian Expedition, Thucydides, “Tauta ton peri Sikilion genomena” might obscure the meaning. My Ancient Greek is rusty now so i didn’t risk it 😉

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