Ragged, disused billboards advertise
The warnings of street-prophets, whose alphabet
Is characters a fathom high, the void
Filled by a single word, in Greek: Mistake.
Or else in Lingua franca English, Wake
Up! When did we listen to advice?
Austerity digs deeper into debt,
And ancient glaciers calve the weakened ice,
And doom is just what hasn’t happened yet.
We borrow days as fast as Time will lend them,
And vote on Freedom, blighted referendum,
Yet we are always quarrelling when the Persians
Amass their cohorts. The odds are always harsh
On the field of fennel near the brackish marsh.
A. E. Stallings
A.E. Stallings is an American poet who has lived in Greece since 1999. She has published three volumes of translation, most recently a verse translation of Hesiod's Works and Days from Penguin Classics and The Battle Between the Frogs and Mice (Paul Dry Books). She is the author of four books of poems, most recently Like, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She has received grants and fellowships from the NEA, the Guggenheim, and the MacArthur foundations.
Also by A. E. Stallings (see all)
- Afterglow: An Appreciation of Robert B. Shaw’s What Remains to Be Said - September 22, 2022
- Paying (Homage to) the Ferryman - May 31, 2021
- The Poet on The Road to Sparta - October 23, 2018