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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Grace Harriet Macurdy (1866–1946)

Poems of the Great War: To Melos, Pomegranate Isle

  • (Destroyed by Athens, 416 B.C., because of her refusal to break neutrality.—Thucydides, v., 84–116; Euripides, ‘Trojan Women.’)

  • O THOU Pomegranate of the Sea,

    Sweet Melian isle, across the years

    Thy Belgian sister calls to thee

    In anguished sweat of blood and tears.

    Her fate like thine—a ruthless band

    Hath ravaged all her loveliness.

    How Athens spoiled thy prosperous land

    Athenian lips with shame confess.

    Thou, too, a land of lovely arts,

    Of potter’s and of sculptor’s skill—

    Thy folk of high undaunted hearts

    As those that throb in Belgium still.

    Within thy harbor’s circling rim

    The warships long, with banners bright,

    Sailed bearing Athens’ message grim—

    “God hates the weak. Respect our Might.”

    The flame within thy fanes grew cold,

    Stilled by the foeman’s swarming hordes,

    Thy sons were slain, thy daughters sold

    To serve the lusts of stranger lords.

    For Attic might thou didst defy,

    Thy folk the foeman slew as sheep,

    Across the years hear Belgium’s cry—

    “O Sister, of the Wine-Dark Deep.

    “Whose cliffs gleam seaward roseate.

    Not one of all my martyr roll

    But keeps his faith inviolate.

    Man kills our body, not our soul.”