Sarah Thilykou

Antigone in Haiti: Sarah Thilykou


Another year has passed -the world is no different (Αllen Ginsberg)

(PERSONAE: Antigone
Hemon (mute person)
Chorus (of three persons)

A: Two hundred years! Two hundred years…
How can one remember them? How can one tell the story?
With me of course things do differ
for thousand years now
everybody remembers me
I am everytime everywhere
in Videla’s Argentina in South Africa
in Afghanistan alongside the luvvies
in India and Saudi Arabia
that imprison poets
against Hitler in Germany and elsewhere
behind every mask of a frightened bourgeois…
My name? Antigone

C: Who are you, Antigone?

A: I am. I am Antigone
an unwedded bride
a young woman with no youth
an ageless old woman
not that I hadn’t been lucky
many wanted to marry me
brown eyes, blond hair
one day Ismene gave me her lipstick
-I’ve never been fond of such things
my lips got so red
that I felt ashamed

I: You were so beautiful, sister
you reminded me of mother
how she loved colours, remember?
And your look was deep
and dark like father’s
before sticking
his fingers into his eyes
and fading for ever

C: Who are you, Antigone?

A: I am. I am Antigone
my mind was always elsewhere
in faraway travels
adventures and revolutions
you never forgave me that, Hemon
oh, I was so young
I didn’t know the world
not that I know it now -don’t you speak?
I became all the women you loved
it was I, Hemon
it was me you always loved -you hear me?
You were my country and I was your dream -are you leaving?
I always ran away from my self
Thebes and Athens were never enough for me
the Revolution found me in Haiti
I buried there with my own hands
many comrades -aren’t we all brothers?
A small, poor, proud country
chartered a ship with one hundred men
and tons of coffee from the plantations
to help Greece -but the ship is gone
I didn’t hesitate at all
Ι took the first boat and I’m coming, Hemon
to tell you that the world doesn’t change
and if someone is to change
he must have the will himself
to tell you that every sacrifice is vain
quite useless and fruitless
and precious for that like a masterpiece
I’m coming, Hemon -though I know
despite the independence
I’ll never be free
free to embrace you
in the crowded plaza of jubilations
a slave to myself, Hemon
you are my daemon, everything I’ve done
I have done it for you, Hemon
I’m coming, my love

(Lights fade as we watch a sequence from the film Royal Wedding, 1951, with Fred Astaire singing I left my hat in Haiti. Fade out and finale).

Sarah Thilykou was born in Thessaloniki, where she studied theology, drama, and music, with further work in Utrecht and Paris. She holds a M.A. and a PhD in theology. She has published five poetic collections, including Duet of Islands (in English, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish), book reviews, essays, translations in international literary publications, including Poeticanet ( and Nadwah ( of which she is an editor. She has translated, among others, Gabriel Rosenstock (The Floating Universe, Silver Birches), Rua Breatnach (The City Next Door), Allen Ginsberg (Buddha Died). She has performed professionally as an actor and singer and is currently teaching in secondary education in Athens.