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The silence of the imprisoned Caryatid in the British Museum

I have been emailed a poem (originally in Greek, but I was then sent a translated version) about the Caryatid in the British Museum. The one Caryatid fascinates people in a different way to the other sculptures from the Acropolis – perhaps because she is clearly missing the other similar looking Caryatids that she left behind in Greece, perhaps because ass an obvious human form, removed from the context of long processions and ceremonies, she is easier for people in today’s world to relate to and Empathise with.

Olga Belivani Tsitsaki (by email)

Prisoner Caryatids silence

Men lift eyes on me with pride
as I stand svelte and overbearing
but dropping from my eyes falls rain
my soul from nostos hurts.
This column I hold on my head is too heavy
because it isn’t temple or somebody’s grave
I’m a priestess. This is my debt to earth
Dia, Poseidon, Athena Pallada I cannot stand so much silence!!
Thousands of times in Kythira, in archipelagos be found
my body buried in blue green seabed
at least my body will belongs to Hellenic land
with this dream, the oblivion outplay.
I’m alive as you! Made by chiselled Parian stone
Greek woman with ethical principles and values and in these always stays
ah! A moment under the Attic sky my body be found
The light of sun to bathe and then to eternity I may rest
Listen to me… shout for me! I’m here against my will
Melina the earthly Caryatida begged but she died
I want to run. I want to play with my sisters.
My dreams to reign. How much longer can begged
Ah fatherland! Your wind breath which is caressing my body
dries my tears… It is the holy communion of my soul
Help me foreigner to return… my seat waiting…
Only this my hope remaining…
I am nostalgic to see again the silver moon of Acropolis
The road which is open, my mind it is treading again
And as my two eyes in the sky will lift
The god who governs to look for… for my homeland to pray
I feel pain, I am nostalgic, I reminisce, I crave…
As you can see the spirit you cannot define it
even though within the walls unsightly imprisonment
Save me… I know you can feel what I feel

Olga Belivani Tsitsaki