In Competition No. 2753 you were invited to submit a new national anthem for Greece.
The entry was split between those who present Greece’s woes as being mostly self-inflicted and a more sympathetic bunch, who acknowledge the wider forces that may have helped to bring this once great nation to its knees. Both camps are represented in the winning line-up. W.J. Webster takes the bonus fiver. His fellow winners pocket £25 each.
All Hellenes cry ‘Hellas!’
Our great descent is known to all
Who’ve heard of Europe’s story,
From giants too many to recall
Who laid our claim to glory.
Here history first got its name,
We gave the epic birth;
Geometry owes us its frame,
We even measured Earth.
Democracy was our idea,
And where hubris may lurk:
Our tragedy showed men should fear
How nemesis will work.
All Hellenes cry ‘Hellas!’
Hellas, Hellas, first of nations,
Motherland of thought and art,
Never mind the defalcations,
Feel the living, beating heart.
Greeks, recall our country’s story,
Sing this hymn of praise aloud:
Hellas, Hellas, land of glory,
Broke we may be, but we’re proud.
Plotinus and Aristotle
Taught the planet how to think.
Malagousia by the bottle
Helps us when we turn to drink.
Though the euro’s past salvation,
Hail the blue and white unfurled!
Hellas, Hellas, foremost nation
Of a fluctuating world.
(To the tune of: ‘Deutschland Uber Alles’)
We knew thee of old,
O drachma we love,
Our Attic economy
Grieves in abasement.
We mourn thee, O drachma,
And hate thy replacement.
Under the yoke
Of the Union we groan.
We dream the rebirth
Of a zone of our own.
Revive thou, O drachma.
Foretell the return
Of that glory bygone
For which hearts Grecian yearn.
From Mount Olympus, mighty Zeus,
Your fearsome thunderbolts let loose
And spare us from the wretched role
Of being Europe’s begging bowl.
Where would the world without us be?
No ouzo, no Aegean sea,
No myth, no math, no feta cheese
No package deals, no Sophocles.
On treacherous seas now pitched and tossed,
Our drachma drowned, our marbles lost,
We founder in despair and swear
It’s gifts we need, not gifts we bear.
Melt Merkel’s heart, oh mighty Zeus,
And put the Bundesbank to use
By showering down on Greece, we plead,
More euros than we’ll ever need.
They say, the time has come
For us to be at last decisive
To which we answer: ‘Chum, oh wouldn’t it be nice
We could stay within the zone, but not austerely —
not the bleak way.
We’d rather have it all — ’cause that’s the Greek
It fills us, yes, with doubts
To see our debts still quickly mounting,
But we’re fed up with Krauts and their meticulous
And so we’re shouting loud and proud — with
verve, not in a weak way:
‘You have to bail us out — ’cause that’s the Greek
Regrets, we have a few —
Maybe we should have paid more taxes,
And it was silly, too, to push all credits to their
But as we soldier on in our no-paddle-up-the-creek
We cry ‘Let’s cook the books!’ — ’cause that’s the
(To the tune of ‘My Way’)
Olympus rejoices as all its Gods’ voices
Now join in a chorus of hope to assure us
We’re not to be cowed by the deeds or debate
Of mercenary fiends from a jack-booted State
Whose offer of money is naught but a ploy
Like the treacherous horse which we loosed upon
Ours is the land which gave birth to democracy.
We will not bow to their foreign autocracy
E’en when it seems that democracy’s failed us,
We’re skint and reviled and their cabal’s derailed
Our land of lost marbles, retsina and doner
Kebabs must stand tall as a euro-free loner.
So, hark to Olympus and vote just once more —
For freedom and pride on Elysium’s shore!
No. 2756 scandicrime
You are invited to submit your contribution to the booming genre of Scandinavian crime fiction (150 words maximum). Please email entries, wherever possible, to email@example.com by midday on 19 July.