Letter from Greece

Rupert_Brooke_Q_71073A.E. Stallings at The Hudson Review:

Amidst the chaos and uncertainty of Greece in 2015—a double round of elections, a nailbiter of a referendum, protests, and financial cliff-hangers—2015 also marked the centennial of Rupert Brooke’s peaceful death on the island of Skyros, on April 23, 1915. The poet succumbed to complications from a mosquito bite, at the age of 27, practically the sole patient aboard a French hospital ship that was anchored in Treis Boukes Bay (a former pirate cove), at 4:46 in the afternoon. He was buried later the same day towards midnight under a cloud-shrouded moon in a sage-fragrant olive grove (a grove he himself had remarked on for its enchantment just three days before) on the deserted south side of this beautiful yet spooky island; in haste, because the troops were shipping out for Gallipoli at dawn.

My husband and I used to go to Skyros often, especially looking forward to the dithyrambic carnival festival. I forget why we stopped going exactly—it always seemed like a trek, since you had to drive to Euboia first, then catch the Lykomedes sailing from Cymae, putting you in to port on wind-swept Skyros in the dark of night. There, as I remember, one of the harbor cafes would greet the ferryboat’s arrival by blaring Thus Spake Zarathustra, adding to the island’s quirky eeriness.

more here.