April 3 Poem

Greek Demons

On the ferry from Naxos to Piraeus port, we met an Orthodox 
nun, with beads and wimple in the wind. She admired the 
sketches we had made on the island. When she saw the
drawings of the ancient gods, she said, Those are demons

Apollo and Zeus and Demeter. Her demonization reinstated 
their existence, some 2,600 later, far more than the textbooks
of the average Athenian teenagers, drinking iced coffee and
tuning into the buzz of economic crisis around them. 

(The Ancient Greek word “daimon”  is translated  as “god,”
“divine,” “power,” and “fate.”) She then proudly showed 
us, on her primitive cell phone, pictures of her own drawings, 
cartoon characters of squat girls with pigtails and bows and 

goggly eyes. She bemoaned that the church hierarchy forbid 
her using comics to teach children about their faith. Then she 
said we must get married under the Church and have many
babies. In the early Roman Empire, “like pagans, Christians 

still saw the gods and their power, and by an easy shift of
opinion they turned these pagan daimones into malevolent 
‘demons’, the troupe of Satan. Far into the Byzantine period 
Christians eyed their cities’ old  pagan statuary as a seat of 
the demons’ presence. It was no longer beautiful, it was infested.”