Áris Alexándrou (1922-1978), Poems 

To Koskino

Translated from the Greek by Yannis Goumas

ADVICE TO A CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR
There are always ways of avoiding prosecution
for instance if you’re suffering from something akin to melancholia
or ― ideally ― you write paranoid verses such as
“Soldiers have eyes to see with’
or “Sergeant, I’m colour blind; I see the target as my heart’.
There’s ways.
But if you’re now certain in your mind that through bribery
you’re paying for another to have his own way
collect from every corner what remains of your despair
and steady
and composed
as a prompter
go whisper the words that need be enounced
by prosecutors and court-martial officers.
When in jail don’t count the days.
As you observe the forecourt narrow bit by bit
it’s best for you to shorten your own stride.
Best also you should make light of reports.
Ceremonies, party turncoats and elections
probably have as much…

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