Author: Willis Barnstone  | Date: 590 B.C.

To the Mytilenians

The local tyrant

rants and blusters and you are silenced

like a school of frightened neophytes

confronting the dead in holy rituals.

But I tell you, O citizens of Lesbos,

rise up and quench the smoldering logs

before their flames climb and consume you all

in total fire!


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Chicago: Willis Barnstone, "To the Mytilenians," Alkaios Original Sources, accessed December 6, 2023,

MLA: Barnstone, Willis. "To the Mytilenians." Alkaios, Original Sources. 6 Dec. 2023.

Harvard: Barnstone, W, 'To the Mytilenians' in Alkaios. Original Sources, retrieved 6 December 2023, from