Yannis Ritsos – Poems, Selected Books, Volume II, Second Edition


The train that passed an hour ago cut the rain in two.

A bit of smoke remains hanging onto the afternoon

like a dishevelled hair-piece of an actor, moist from

           the dampness

hanging on the wall, perhaps, king Lear had worn it 

that night with the tempest. When we travelled along

the deserted road, Alexis stayed behind collecting

wild vegetables and the pale dusk was shining on us

like the faded window shutter of the deserted house

in the wind. Someone passed by with a ladder

on his shoulders — no he wasn’t planning to climb up

and light the lamp of the moon — these things were

forgotten, far away, behind the mountains — like

a broken car left in the muddy road that serves

no other purpose though it obstructs the passing and

men with their carts curse it when their thin horses

           stumble upon it.

It was cold. We rushed to return home.

Soon as we locked the door we heard the first shots

          in the road.

Now you have to calculate what you took, what you gave.

There are lots of fallen leaves in the little forest.

The silence that would sing, as you claimed, resembles

the taxidermy crane on the dusty shelf of the school.

           It won’t talk.

The parish priest died of hunger.

The lamppost supervisor was found dead face down in front

           of his door.

He never got up again. The carts won’t ever carry fruits


they’re to carry the dead. The knife sharpener was found

with his head over his sharpening wheel last night,

like someone who looks down in the well and

the well is deep and black — you see nothing in it.

It’s very cold this year. It’ll snow.

When you tear off a page from the calendar it’s as if

you open a window during the night in a foreign

snowed up city.

You don’t recognize the place. How bitter is the table

without bread — like the sky in a foreign land without

sun — and these plates resemble the locked up

suburban houses when autumn comes, when

you see them through the windows of the train, over the hill

returning again to the city after your summer holidays

and these utensils resemble garden railings moistened

             by long gone summers.

No — it’s nothing — I’m not hungry, you hear me?

It’s just a little headache. I rather go to lie down

to put the chin close to the knees — to go to sleep

listening to the wind that grinds its teeth outside.

These faces look so strange

the steps on the sidewalk so strange

and the pepper trees of the street also strange —

the children get frightened by them — and

they pull their hairs without saying any words.

They had tied the rope on the trees over there —

five men stayed there for three nights and three days

like riders of the galloping wind who never got away.         

The light of the lamp doesn’t recognize our hands —

the glass is smoked up, you see;

our hands on the table resemble dried up plane-tree leaves

they can’t hold a harmonica, can’t say thank you

             or the day after tomorrow;

only when they hold another hand

they become hands again — and then the circle created

by the light of the lamp resembles a dish with warm food

from which two or three or more men can eat

and feel content.

Look, the evening star is rising. A purple dusk

after the rain — the evening star is

like the first I love you of a different spring. Look.

Freshly washed fence walls — the letters are still visible.

Stay by the window for a while yet. Here. We’ll look far away.

Over there to the corner of the road where our old spring


a green kiosk with many colourful magazines hanging

on cloths-pins fluttering in the breeze as if they clap


a kiosk with many packs of cigarettes

that the workers stop and buy after work,

a kiosk with small mirrors

where the neighbourhood girls stop and pretend

that they don’t look into while absentmindedly

look at the young worker who passes with his hands

           in his pockets

and as the mirrors hang slanting in a way

it gives them the impression that the young worker

           will fall on them —

as they absentmindedly fix the curls of their hair

that slides on their foreheads like the light slides

on the upper crack of the door that leads to

the next room where two lovers kiss.

Look, then, the evening star has risen.


Titos Patrikios – Selected Poems


If you ever saw two men in cuffs

going in the middle of the road

one of them could be me

when they exiled me again;

and just like you

I had many dreams that morning

for the new job I was to find

for a walk under the street lights,

in the asphalt,

searching for a little sunshine.

And him

whose body was held by iron,

he too had dreams incised

in his austere face.

They took him from his woman

early at six o’clock.

When you see two men in cuffs

in the middle of the road

don’t think of anything more

don’t think of anything less.

Two men

who look like you.


Wheat Ears – Selected Poems


Your tormented heart sadly

stares at the unbearable human

littleness which you witness,

daily pain

of the fecund rosebush,

daily scar of your

Titanic soul which

embraces all frugal and grand.

Was man great on your first morning?

Was man a negligible parrot

on your late dusk?

The fight of your honorable soul

grasps the equilibrium

between all pettiness

and the splendorous which

your ardor composes on

the ever adoring canvas.

What else is there?

Just immortality

in the hands of the mortal.

What else is there but

Death and

amorous hope

in the hands of an immortal?


Γιώργος Θέμελης: Δενδρόκηπος (VII, β. Ιντερμέδιο)

Βίκυ Παπαπροδρόμου: ό,τι πολύ αγάπησα (ποίηση, πεζογραφία & μουσική)



β. Ιντερμέδιο

Τι να ’σαι, τι να μην είσαι,
Τι ν’ αγαπάς, τι να πεθαίνεις,
Όνειρο ίσκιου ή μια εικόνα,
Πάθος και πρόσωπο ενός άλλου.

Σε δείχνει το φως, σε κρύβει το σκοτάδι.

Συχνά περνάς σα μια σκιά,
Σκιά σκιάς εκείνου που είσαι.

Συχνά περνάς σαν ένα φάντασμα
Και σβήνεις, πας μες στο σκοτάδι σου.

Συχνά παλεύεις να σταθείς,
Τα χέρια σου επιπλέουν.

Όταν μεθώ, θυμάμαι τα παλιά.
Γυρίζει ο νους μου και μου φέρνει
χρόνια χαμένα, ξεχασμένα.

Όταν μεθώ, δεν έχει τώρα,
Δεν έχει χθες, παρόν και μέλλον,
Έχει νεκρά κι αναστημένα.

Όταν μεθώ, αγαπώ να βγαίνω
Έξω στη νύχτα και να τραγουδώ.
Ακούω, ακούγομαι, σωπαίνω, αντιλαλώ.

Όταν κοιτάζομαι, δεν φαίνομαι άγγελος.
Δεν είμαι ωραίος για να πεθάνω νέος.

Δεν έχω στήθος ν’ ακουμπήσω
Δεν έχω πρόσωπο ν’ αγαπηθώ.

(Είμαι σαν ένα ξύλινο ομοίωμα
Μες στη βιτρίνα μου τη φωτισμένη.)

Όταν συστέλλομαι μες στο μικρό μου τίποτα,

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