. Charles Maurras (1868-1952) was a highly influential French poet, essayist, and political journalist. He edited the rightist paper Action Française, and was a member of the French Academy. He wrote that the most important event in his life was an epiphany at the Parthenon in 1896, where he came to a full realization of the incalculable value of European civilization, and the need to defend it against all enemies, political and ideological. The pure air of a mild Aegean day— Through the peristyle light filters, falls Here where Athena, gold-and-ivory, Held weaving, war, and wisdom in her hand. From this marble shell I look and see THE GODS THEMSELVES, formed out of moving clouds, Utterly lucid, blue-white of the sky. Look up! Look up and see the gods! I cried, But Saul of Tarsus knew his business well And thought his thoughts without a moment’s pause; GOD HIMSELF in earthly, vibrant colors Passed over like a comet in its course. What have I to do with these disputes, Hebraic wranglings over the unknown? This littoral favors clustered grapes and olives And habits of the clear Ionian mind— Not the arid desert’s thorns that thrive Where raving winds sweep, harsh and biting, through Wastes wailing with the cry of nomad blood-debt. Here the soritical aqueduct, and not The mute intuition of a lone oasis; We breed ontology, and may hell take Hallucinators of apocalypse. Anthropos provides supreme proportion: The human form in compass, square, and circle Drawn in Vitruvian analogy— Hands and limbs and eyes and golden brow, Vision and versatility conjoined. The strictly chastened geometric line Proceeds from an imagined, unseen point That reason postulates, and then confirms. Columns, arches, and the written word Echo what is planned out and approved. I saw Apollo’s cool and measured hand Turn in reflection of all I had seen, For here in Hellas, intelligence is keen, Unlike the quaking, superstitious world. Beyond these limits, barbarism reigns: Nomads scrubbing sticks to start a fire, Fetishists huddling round the smoking embers Urging them to flame with half-choked breath As hatred smoulders in the stomach’s pit— Stupidity and enthusiasm rule, The hunchbacked brain, the epileptic leap, The tom-toms and the chipped flint arrowheads. Here in Athens, at the Parthenon, I see the focal point of what we are— Reason and balance, order and control: The lighthouse in the all-surrounding dark. Only within this city’s circumscription Dare we raise our eyes to the Divine. . . Joseph S. Salemi has published five books of poetry, and his poems, translations and scholarly articles have appeared in over one hundred publications world-wide. He is the editor of the literary magazine Trinacria and writes for Expansive Poetry On-line. He teaches in the Department of Humanities at New York University and in the Department of Classical Languages at Hunter College.