“Koroua – The State kept its eyes closed”, a poem by Joseph S. Josephides

You were a child when a pimp purchased you.

He crushed your petals with his anvil
to extract children for him, to breastfeed them,
you, who bear the scent of your mother’s milk. [1]
The State kept its eyes shut,
not even wiping away your blood.


I don’t weep for you, Hadijatou Mani Koroua,
I only weep for myself, a poet willfully blind,
who failed to torch the Lernaean Hydra.
Alone you stood on tremulous limbs
and gave the state a kick from the witness stand,
moving your hands to stir the wind, [3]
to raise the umbilical cords of the children,
like ivy choking the neck of the State.


I write to you now as an old man:
“Without a struggle we lose.
The mistakes I made I can never rectify.

Your unbearable misfortunes made me fear life.
Yet now I embrace it, for you bravely found justice.”


[1] Erotocritos (Greek poem in medieval times) (D 408): ‘Still in your mouth the milk of your mum’s breast is found’.

[2] In 2005 the Court ECOWAS of all 15 countries of the West Africa condemned the government of Niger because it never protected the young girl Hantiyatou Mani Coroua who, when she was 12, she was purchased for 500 dollars by a slave trader; he was raping her and have many kids with her. Mani-Coroua found her right by the Court which imposed a heavy fine to the government of Niger to pay as a compensation to her.

[3] Malala Yousafzai: “Do not wait for someone else to come and speak for you. It’s you who can change the world.” 


  • Translation in English by Dr. Vassiliki Rapti, Affiliated Faculty, Emerson College, Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing, and Chair of the Ludics Seminar, Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard University, USA.

This is the first official publication of the poemKoroua – The State kept its eyes closed”, by Joseph S. Josephides. The poem will be included in Mr Josephides’ future poems’ collection under the general title “Kouros and Kori”.

A few words about the writer:

Born in Cyprus, he has a B.Sc. in Mathematics (1971), a B.A. in Economics (1975) and a Ph.D. in Statistics of Economics (Distinction ‘Excellent’,1978). Vice President of the UNAC, ex-President of the Academy of Sciences, Director in a Banking Group, Judge of the Tenders’ Review Authority, Professor in local Universities (MBA level).

He worked in Popular Bank Group as Manager of Economic Research, Planning, Financial Services, Training & Cultural Centre (1978-2001), Professor Master’s D/ ΜΒΑ at Universities of Cyprus (2002-08), Judge of Tenders’ Review Authority (2008-2013), Consultant of Organizations and Institutional Bodies (2013- ).

Further to his studies and articles in economics, energy, EU affairs, science/ maths, he wrote 4 Books in Poetry (Course A, B, C, ON ESSENCE AND PROPERTY); the 5th (KOUROS AND KORI) follows. He translated Nobel-awarded poets, he wrote 3 Anthologies (of Polish, Russians,Turkish Cypriots poets), Short-stories, Essays (Economics and Administration in the poetry of K.P.Kavafis etc), Theater plays (The lazy king, Antigoni and Creon, Ismini), Philosophy (Zeno), History (Latins in Cyprus).

Poems of his are found in Anthologies and Literature Magazines (of USA, France, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece, Cyprus), in Web-sides of Literature (USA, UK, Greece, Bulgaria etc). A novel in an English-French Anthology (2009). As a poet he represented Cyprus in France (2003), in Germany (2006), as a writer in Paris and Strasburg (2008) and as base of the opera in international music festivals. Some of his poems, musically composed are presented in Music Halls of Europe.

He is member of: the Intern’l Society of Poets, PEN Intern’l, National Association of Greek Writers of Cyprus, EPOK. Member of the Board of ‘’Writers’ Union of Cyprus’’.

In 2007 “The International Library of Poetry” honoured him the award «Best Poems, Best Poets». In 2014 the International Academy ‘Arts-Science-Lettres’ awarded him its Metal, for his contribution in Literature, Science, Culture of Europe (and Cyprus).


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