The Passions of a Macedonian Cypress

 For Macedonia,

The land of our forefathers

 I’m tattooing the last of my chipped thoughts on my own bark because I was unjustly burnt last night and I fear the end is near. I knew a man called Alexander once. I still remember that night long ago when he passed under me; God he was so tired from his travels that he fell asleep in my arms! Till then I’d had a shepherd, a temple maiden and even a Minoan sailor but never a demi-god like he. Perhaps the only time I’ve felt truly alive, conscious, purposeful even, was when I whispered in his ear that I’d willingly become his footstool; I’d forfeit my deep-rooted life to him; I’d be his Chronicler and he my Saviour. But he just ignored me – Standoffish like he was with most shallow-minded barbarians. He ended up seeing a dream in which Nemesis asked him to rebuild Smyrna after she was burned by Lydians so that the love-struck romantic poets of Asia Minor might dream again.

 Today, nobody remembers what it’s like to be in the presence of a man who bends light with the tip of his finger; a man who swallowed bits of Greece and regurgitates them whole again; a man who set it all in motion thousands of years ago by striking a beautiful chord – an A minor – on the harmonic scale of golden dawn; a man who made love and war with the force of a thousand atomic bomb blasts at once. The Ancient Ones who still live in the woods know about Alexander’s apathanatismos but all the newbies don’t understand. I can hear them asking our solemn mother, Gaea, if King Alexander still lives from atop their dilapidated castle at Amphipolis.


 ‘Does King Alexander live?’  

‘He lives and conquers!’

cry the foundation blocks of the Pharos deep in Alexandria’s harbor.

‘He lives! He conquers!’

cry the Greek-root words of the English dictionary.

‘He conquers and lives!’

cries the Gorgona, slamming her trident into the seafloor of the Mediterranean.

‘He conquers! He lives!’

cry the ruminating bones of Phillip of Macedon from his ossuary.

He lives and conquers!’ cry the Ionian, Doric and Corinthian brides that loiter on the edge of every authoritative building in the world.




‘He lives! He conquers!’

cry the democratic nations of our day.

‘He lives! He lives! He lives!’

cry the stones, the mountains, the rivers, the lakes, the oceans and all things, living and animate, with a Greek way of thinking about them.

‘He lives and conquers!’

cry the burning seeds deep inside my flayed cones, heartening each and every one of Gaea’s children to join hands and sing of Hellenic emotion; of Platonic spiritualism; Aristotelian pragmatism and all.

‘He lives and conquers my children, and a time will come when he’ll collect his bones and we’ll rejoice again. You’ll see.’



Paul Kiritsis

Multi award-winning author of Hermetica: Myths, Legends, Poems