I'll never step ashore and feel your beach
the way I felt it as a barefoot child,
or see you waver in the windy reach
of goddess-bearing sea. You were the island
Venus made with her first smile,
Zakynthos, the moment she was born.
No song embraced your leafy sky,
not even his who sang the fatal storm
and how Ulysses, his misfortunes past
and beautiful with fame, sailed home at last.
Some will not return: I too
offend the powers that be, am banned
from home. Oh maternal land,
my words are all I have to send to you.
~ From the Italian of Ugo Foscolo (b. Zakynthos 1778 d. England 1827). This translation copyright © 1999, 2001 by Leonard Cottrell. All rights reserved.