Tuesday, August 13, 2013

word of the day: obols

context: "Pericles built these piles to Athens' glory. // Her gleam, so that her democratic harbor / MIght welcome tourists from all Asia Minor / Afloat with awe and obols."

In the poem "The Figure of Metaphor" Alicia Suskin Ostriker describes a visit to Athens, particularly the "footsore" climb to the Acropolis "jostled and shoved by more / Hasty sightseers." Ancient tourists were similarly drawn by the spectacle - and, Ostriker suggests, similarly "rob[bed by] foreigners." But she's a good sport about it, as, she suspects, were the ancient tourists. "Perhaps the town was truly civilized," she muses. "[F]rom each jukebox tenors croon of love."

definition from dictionary.com: a silver coin of ancient Greece, the sixth part of a drachma.

source: The Crack in Everything poems by Alicia Suskin Ostriker

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