A junior in high school in suburban New York City was given an assignment to write a poem for her English class personifying a place.
Argyro Papathanasiou didn’t think twice which place that would be— her beloved Greece.
As a proud, third generation Greek American who spent summers there creating memories and experiences of a lifetime, her mother told The Pappas Post that she expected, too, the topic of her poem to be Greece.
“She told me she wanted to write about Greece, of course I thought she would write about how beautiful Greece is, blue seas and sun, from our many summers spent there,” mom Georgia told us in an email.
But the poem Argyro wrote and submitted stunned her teacher— and all who read it.
Missing were the allusions to sea and sun, ancient temples and all that one would expect to be written about Greece.
Argyro— without even saying it— beautifully summed up the concept of philotimo, that is embedded in the cultural DNA of the Greek people.
The teacher gave the poem the highest grade— and decided to share it with the class.
Fortunately, the justifiably proud mother decided to share the poem with us, which we are proud to share with our readers.
An untitled poem about Greece, written by Argyro Papathanasiou
She’s a diamond in a rough
In a midst of disputing lands and religions
Her faith remains pure and untouched,
With no intention to scorn nor cut with unsteady precision
She collects them one by one,
Each and every soul that perished in her translucent, deep, blue eyes
The mayhem of refuge and economic scrutiny
Tries to kill her inside
But, she remains unchanged; strikingly beautiful
In her own humble way
Golden locks fall down her bronze shoulders,
Radiating loving warmth to the cold and the ill
In the valleys of every hill
The emaciated children find treasures of food
Which she plants with her every kiss
Her open arms and genuine embrace
Welcome the destitute to her free bliss
Anyone who passes by in need, she will be willing to feed
She is home.
She is Greece.