He sniffs loudly,
Listening for any movement.
Far, far, away, a tinkling is heard by the Monotaur.
The hatch to the labyrinth is opened,
And the Minotaur's luckless victim is pushed into the cave.
The hatch to the labyrinth is closed,
And the man is in darkness.
He hears a roar pierce the silence, the roar of the Minotaur!
The Minotaur runs,
The man thinks of the whetted horns,
The sharp teeth,
And he is off,
Running like the wind,
Scrambling past rocks.
Fast he runs,
But faster the Minotaur pursues!
The man looks back,
Sees the great beast,
And runs harder.
Presently the Minotaur slows.
His snorting can be heard no more.
Again the prey looks back.
He sees no Minotaur.
Now walking into the darkness.
He pauses at a corner.
He hears too late the Minotaur
Who leaps from this passage
And with one lunge of his horns,
Ends this hunt!
(poem from The Minotaur, A Magazine
of Literature and Art,
used with permission)
Greek poets — including C. P. Cavafy, George Seferis,
Yiannis Ritsos, and others — identify very closely
with archetypal themes such as the journey, the longing for
home, and the landscape of their native country. Indeed,
there is little separation between poet and Greece’s
collective imagination, memory, history. The ancient cauldron
of myth, legend, and art, and the impact of the stark and
rugged topography is kept vigorously alive in an outpouring
of carefully honed lines of melodic verse.
Respond in Essays, Stories, Poems, and Reflections
Students in program director Barbara Harrison’s seventh
grade classes respond to poems by modern Greek poets: C.P.Cavafy’s Ithaka,
George Seferis’s Mythisorima (X,
XII), and Yiannis Ritsos’s My
Excerpts from Student Works
"I think ‘Ithaka’ is
one of the most meaningful poems I have ever read. The
words flow with meaning that is synonymous to life. . .
My favorite part is the spiritually lifting line ‘As
long as a rare emotion stirs your spirit and body’.
The lines enrich my conscience and my understanding of
"Tiny black crosses marked there
by the dead’, a line from the poem ‘Our Land’ by
Yiannis Ritsos, is my favorite line because I can clearly
imagine all sorts of sizes of crosses from the dead on the
"In both of George Seferis’s
poems you can feel how deeply he loves his country. He makes
abstract observations: ‘And our weddings, the fresh
marriage wreaths and the fingers/become inscrutable enigmas
to our souls’ and he also simply names what he sees ‘Three
rocks, a few scorched pines and a remote chapel.’ Therefore
his poems have two meanings, an outer one and an inner one,
the inner being slightly harder to grasp and deeper."
"In Yiannis Ritsos’s poem ‘Our
Land,’ the line ‘A small fire smoulders’ has
stuck with me. When I think of that line I can really imagine
a gray sky with the glowing embers of a small fire still
smouldering pitifully. It is a simple, not very descriptive
line, but it sets my whole mental image for me."
"My favorite poem out of all of
the ones we have read so far is ‘Ithaka’ by C.P.
Cavafy. I can see the mother of pearl, coral, amber, and
ebony in my mind. I can see the ship anchoring at the island.
The line that sticks out in my mind is ‘so wise you
have become, so full of experience/You will understand by
then the meaning of Ithakas.’ Those lines are incredibly