Wheat Ears, Selected Poems


And time came to speak the truth

rising through the cracks of the floor

four signs of distress sent

to the four corners of the globe

and I positioned myself

before the wrath of Zeus

when the mistral blew against me

and the terrace creaked

as if agreeing with my anger

at the little people who always kneeled

while golden nymphs  

reminded me of man’s misery when

finally I placed my head onto the pillow

to spend my long night of solitude

truthfully Him I was, the splendorous

loner, the irritable savior

foolish enough to be embalmed


George Seferis – Collected Poems


The secrets of the sea are forgotten on the shore

the darkness of the depth is forgotten on the surf;

suddenly the memory corals shine purple…

Oh do not stir it…carefully listen to its soft

momentum…you touched the tree with the apples

the arm stretched out, the thread points the way and leads


Oh dark shivering in the root and on the leaves

were it just you that would bring the forgotten dawn!

May the lilies bloom again on the plain of separation

may the days mature the embrace of heavens

may only those eyes gleam in the sun glare

let the pure soul be written like a song for the flute.

Was it the night that closed its eyes? Ash remains

as though from a bow’s string a muffled sound

ash and vertigo on the black seashore

and a dense fluttering enclosed in the surmise.

Rose of the wind, you knew but took us unknown

when thought built bridges so that

two fingers would entangle and two fates would go by

to be spilled into the low and becalmed light.


C. P. Cavafy – Poems


Άν είσαι απ’ τους αληθινά εκλεκτούς

την επικράτηση σου κύταζε πώς αποκτάς.

Όσο κι άν δοξασθείς, τα κατορθώματα σου

στην Ιταλία και στην Θεσσαλία

όσο κι άν διαλαλούν η πολιτείες

όσα ψηφίσματα τιμητιμά

κι άν σ’ έβγαλαν στη Ρώμη οι θαυμασταί σου

μήτε η χαρά σου, μήτε ο θρίαμβος θα μείνουν,

μήτε ανώτερος—τί ανώτερος—άνθρωπος θα αισθανθείς

όταν, στην Αλεξάνδρεια, ο Θεόδοτος σε φέρει,

επάνω σε σινί αιματωμένο,

του αθλίου Πομπήϊου τό κεφάλι.

Και μη επαναπαύεσαι που στην ζωή σου

περιωρισμένη, τακτοποιημένη, και πεζή,

τέτοια θεαματικά και φοβερά δεν έχει

Ίσως αυτήν την ώρα εις κανενός γειτόνου σου

το νοικοκερεμένο σπίτι μπαίνει—

αόρατος, άυλος—ο Θεόδοτος,

φέρνοντας τέτοιο ένα φρικτό κεφάλι.


If you are truly one of the chosen,

look carefully at how you gain your power.

No matter how much you are glorified, no matter

how loudly the cities in Italy and Thessaly

praise your achievements, no matter

how many decrees in your honor

are issued by your admirers in Rome,

neither your joy nor your triumph will last,

and how superior—what does it mean superior?

are you going to feel, when in Alexandria, Theodotos

brings you, on a blood-stained tray

the head of a despondent Pompeius.

And don’t content yourself with the fact

that in your banal, restrained, and regulated life

such phenomenal and terrifying things don’t happen.

Perhaps at this hour Theodotos—invisible, fleshless—

enters the well-ordered house of your neighbor

carrying such a hideous head.