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Poem Dialogue: “Thermopylae” by C.P. Cavafy

Updated: Feb 20, 2019

A/N: Continuing on from Chris' post last week, I've also tried my hand at writing a response poem. The poem I've chosen is C.P. Cavafy's poem 'Thermopylae'. Thermopylae is the place where the 300 Spartans held their ground against an invading Persian force until they were slaughtered to a man. As you can imagine, it's a poem about heroism and sacrifice, the best of humanity. I thought it would be interesting to try (badly) to emulate that style while talking about another place - Gethsemane, where the disciples fell asleep while Jesus was praying before the Passion. Oftentimes, we're a lot less noble or amazing than we think we are, but we are still loved nonetheless. Hope you enjoy it! 


Honor to those who in the life they lead define and guard a Thermopylae. Never betraying what is right, consistent and just in all they do but showing pity also, and compassion; generous when they’re rich, and when they’re poor, still generous in small ways, still helping as much as they can; always speaking the truth, yet without hating those who lie. And even more honor is due to them when they foresee (as many do foresee) that Ephialtis will turn up in the end, that the Medes will break through after all. Constantine P. Cavafy


Have mercy on we who for an hour fall asleep on their watch at Gethsemane. Blissfully unaware of the trials of our Lord, the dripping of his blood upon the ground but still trying to serve Him, despite it all; despite the petty failures, trusting in His grace, to break through our weakness, and bring the Gospel to others; with awareness of our sins, showing mercy to others as well. And have mercy on especially, when we realise (as we have already been told), that the cock had crowed three times, but our betrayal is already forgiven.

Garrett Ng

© 2018 Christ Centered Convo/Garrett Christopher Ng

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