Tasos Livaditis/translated by Manolis Aligizakis

cover

 

ΚΑΤΩ απ’ το μανδύα ενός άλλου πηγαίνουμε, πού προχωράει

σιωπηλός, δίχως όνομα, ίσως γι’ αυτό και πιο αληθινός, κι όταν

σηκώνουμε το κύπελλο, είναι κι εκείνο μες στο μυστικό και δεν

ξεδιψάμε, γιατι η πρόνοια μας θέλει βιαστικούς, ολομόναχους μες

στην υπόσχεση, σαν τα χωράφια που πηγαίνουν σκεπασμένα το

φθινόπωρο, και μόνον όποιος φεύγει ξαναβρήκε την πατρίδα, αφού

κάθε μας λέξη εδώ μια πόρτα σφαλά εκεί ή ένα παράθυρο, κι αυτό

που έρχεται σαν σκόνη ή σαν σφάλμα κάθεται πάνω στο τραπέζι.

Όμως τα βράδια, ο οποιοσδήποτε είναι ένα πρόσωπο προορι-

σμένο.

 

 

 

WE WALK under the heavy coat of someone else who walks on

silently, who has no name, perhaps for this he’s truer to himself and

when we raise the cup it also hides in the secret so we don’t quench

our thirst because providence wants us to be fast, lonely, inside

the promise like the fields that in the fall go covered and only one

who leaves rediscovers his motherland since our every word shuts

a door here or a window there and what comes as dust or mistake sits

on the table.

However at night anybody can be the destined person.

 

 

~Tasos Livaditis-Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2014

 

www.libroslibertad.com

www.manolisaligizakis.com

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Aristotle

Aristotle

ARISTOTLE

  1. Politics and Ethics

In Book Six of the Ethics Aristotle says that all knowledge can be classified into three categories: theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge, and productive knowledge. Put simply, these kinds of knowledge are distinguished by their aims: theoretical knowledge aims at contemplation, productive knowledge aims at creation, and practical knowledge aims at action. Theoretical knowledge involves the study of truth for its own sake; it is knowledge about things that are unchanging and eternal, and includes things like the principles of logic, physics, and mathematics (at the end of the Ethics Aristotle says that the most excellent human life is one lived in pursuit of this type of knowledge, because this knowledge brings us closest to the divine). The productive and practical sciences, in contrast, address our daily needs as human beings, and have to do with things that can and do change. Productive knowledge means, roughly, know-how; the knowledge of how to make a table or a house or a pair of shoes or how to write a tragedy would be examples of this kind of knowledge. This entry is concerned with practical knowledge, which is the knowledge of how to live and act. According to Aristotle, it is the possession and use of practical knowledge that makes it possible to live a good life. Ethics and politics, which are the practical sciences, deal with human beings as moral agents. Ethics is primarily about the actions of human beings as individuals, and politics is about the actions of human beings in communities, although it is important to remember that for Aristotle the two are closely linked and each influences the other.

The fact that ethics and politics are kinds of practical knowledge has several important consequences. First, it means that Aristotle believes that mere abstract knowledge of ethics and politics is worthless. Practical knowledge is only useful if we act on it; we must act appropriately if we are to be moral. He says at Ethics 1103b25: “The purpose of the present study [of morality] is not, as it is in other inquiries, the attainment of theoretical knowledge: we are not conducting this inquiry in order to know what virtue is, but in order to become good, else there would be no advantage in studying it.”

Second, according to Aristotle, only some people can beneficially study politics. Aristotle believes that women and slaves (or at least those who are slaves by nature) can never benefit from the study of politics, and also should not be allowed to participate in politics, about which more will be said later. But there is also a limitation on political study based on age, as a result of the connection between politics and experience: “A young man is not equipped to be a student of politics; for he has no experience in the actions which life demands of him, and these actions form the basis and subject matter of the discussion” (Ethics 1095a2). Aristotle adds that young men will usually act on the basis of their emotions, rather than according to reason, and since acting on practical knowledge requires the use of reason, young men are unequipped to study politics for this reason too. So the study of politics will only be useful to those who have the experience and the mental discipline to benefit from it, and for Aristotle this would have been a relatively small percentage of the population of a city. Even in Athens, the most democratic city in Greece, no more than 15 percent of the population was ever allowed the benefits of citizenship, including political participation. Athenian citizenship was limited to adult males who were not slaves and who had one parent who was an Athenian citizen (sometimes citizenship was further restricted to require both parents to be Athenian citizens). Aristotle does not think this percentage should be increased – if anything, it should be decreased.

Third, Aristotle distinguishes between practical and theoretical knowledge in terms of the level of precision that can be attained when studying them. Political and moral knowledge does not have the same degree of precision or certainty as mathematics. Aristotle says at Ethics 1094b14: “Problems of what is noble and just, which politics examines, present so much variety and irregularity that some people believe that they exist only by convention and not by nature….Therefore, in a discussion of such subjects, which has to start with a basis of this kind, we must be satisfied to indicate the truth with a rough and general sketch: when the subject and the basis of a discussion consist of matters that hold good only as a general rule, but not always, the conclusions reached must be of the same order.” Aristotle does not believe that the noble and the just exist only by convention, any more than, say, the principles of geometry do. However, the principles of geometry are fixed and unchanging. The definition of a point, or a line, or a plane, can be given precisely, and once this definition is known, it is fixed and unchanging for everyone. However, the definition of something like justice can only be known generally; there is no fixed and unchanging definition that will always be correct. This means that unlike philosophers such as Hobbes and Kant, Aristotle does not and in fact cannot give us a fixed set of rules to be followed when ethical and political decisions must be made. Instead he tries to make his students the kind of men who, when confronted with any particular ethical or political decision, will know the correct thing to do, will understand why it is the correct choice, and will choose to do it for that reason. Such a man will know the general rules to be followed, but will also know when and why to deviate from those rules. (I will use “man” and “men” when referring to citizens so that the reader keeps in mind that Aristotle, and the Greeks generally, excluded women from political part icipation. In fact it is not until the mid-19th century that organized attempts to gain the right to vote for women really get underway and even today in the 21st century there are still many countries which deny women the right to vote or participate in political life).

 

Source: www.iep.utm.edu

Yannis Ritsos/translated by Manolis Aligizakis

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ΡΩΜΙΟΣΥΝΗ (απόσπασμα)

IV

Τράβηξαν ολόισια στην αυγὴ με την ακαταδεξιὰ του ανθρώπου που πεινάει,
μέσα στ᾿ ασάλευτα μάτια τους είχε πήξει ένα άστρο
στον ώμο τους κουβάλαγαν το λαβωμένο καλοκαίρι.

Απὸ δω πέρασε ο στρατὸς με τα φλάμπουρα κατάσαρκα
με το πείσμα δαγκωμένο στα δόντια τους σαν άγουρο γκόρτσι
με τον άμμο του φεγγαριού μες στις αρβύλες τους
και με την καρβουνόσκονη της νύχτας κολλημένη μέσα στα ρουθούνια και στ᾿ αυτιά τους.

Δέντρο το δέντρο, πέτρα-πέτρα πέρασαν τον κόσμο,
μ᾿ αγκάθια προσκεφάλι πέρασαν τον ύπνο.
Φέρναν τη ζωὴ στα δυο στεγνά τους χέρια σαν ποτάμι.

Σε κάθε βήμα κέρδιζαν μία οργιὰ ουρανὸ – για να τον δώσουν.
Πάνου στα καραούλια πέτρωναν σαν τα καψαλιασμένα δέντρα,
κι όταν χορεύαν στήν πλατεία,
μέσα στα σπίτια τρέμαν τα ταβάνια και κουδούνιζαν τα γυαλικὰ στα ράφια.

Ά, τί τραγούδι τράνταξε τα κορφοβούνια –
ανάμεσα στα γόνατα τους κράταγαν το σκουτέλι του φεγγαριού και δειπνούσαν,
και σπάγαν το αχ μέσα στα φυλλοκάρδια τους
σα να `σπαγαν μία ψείρα ανάμεσα στα δυο χοντρά τους νύχια.

Ποιὸς θα σου φέρει τώρα το ζεστὸ καρβέλι μες στη νύχτα να ταίσεις τα όνειρα;
Ποιὸς θα σταθεί στον ίσκιο της ελιάς παρέα με το τζιτζίκι μη σωπάσει το τζιτζίκι,
τώρα που ασβέστης του μεσημεριού βάφει τη μάντρα ολόγυρα του ορίζοντα
σβήνοντας τα μεγάλα αντρίκια ονόματα τους;

Το χώμα τούτο που μοσκοβολούσε τα χαράματα
το χώμα που είτανε δικό τους και δικό μας – αίμα τους – πὼς μύριζε το χώμα –
και τώρα πὼς κλειδώσανε την πόρτα τους τ᾿ αμπέλια μας
πῶς λίγνεψε το φως στις στέγες και στα δέντρα
ποιὸς να το πει πως βρίσκονται οι μισοὶ κάτου απ᾿ το χώμα
κ᾿ οι άλλοι μισοὶ στα σίδερα;

Με τόσα φύλλα να σου γνέφει ο ήλιος καλημέρα
με τόσα φλάμπουρα να λάμπει ο ουρανὸς
και τούτοι μες στα σίδερα και κείνοι μες στο χώμα.

Σώπα, όπου να `ναι θα σημάνουν οι καμπάνες.
Αυτὸ το χώμα είναι δικό τους και δικό μας.
Κάτου απ᾿ το χώμα, μες στα σταυρωμένα χέρια τους
κρατάνε της καμπάνας το σκοινὶ – περμένουνε την ώρα, δεν κοιμούνται,
περμένουν να σημάνουν την ανάσταση. Τούτο το χώμα
είναι δικό τους και δικό μας – δε μπορεί κανεὶς να μας το πάρει.

 

ROMIOSINI (Excerpt)

 

IV

 

They went straight to dawn with the haughty air of the hungry

a star had curdled in their motionless eyes

on their shoulders they carried the injured summer

 

This way the army went with banners glued onto their flesh

with stubbornness bitten by their teeth like an unripe wild pear

with the moon-sand under their heavy boots and with the coal dust of night

glued in their nostrils and their ears.

 

Tree by tree stone by stone they passed the world

with thorns as pillows they spent their sleep

τhey carried life like a river in their parched hands.

 

With every step they won a yard of sky – to give it away

On watch they turned to stone like the conflagrated trees

and when they danced in the plaza ceilings shook inside the houses

and the glassware clinked on the shelves

 

Ah what songs shook the mountain peaks – as they held between their legs

the earthen dish of the moon and had their dinner

and broke the sigh amid their heart pleats like they would break a louse

with their thick nails.

 

Who will now bring you the warm loaf of bread

that you may feed the night with dreams?

Who will stand in the olive tree’s shade to keep the cicadas company

that they won’t go silent now that the whitewash of noon hour paints

all around the horizon a stone wall erasing their great manly names?

 

This soil that was so fragrant at dawn the soil that was theirs and ours –

their blood – how fragrant the soil was –

and now how our vineyards have locked their doors

how the light has thinned on roofs and trees –

who would have said that half of them are under the earth and the other half in jail?

 

With so many leaves the sun greets you good morning and the sky shines

with so many banners and these are in jail and those lie under the earth.

 

Silence that any time now the bells will chime;

This soil is theirs and ours.

 

 

Under the earth in their crossed hands they hold the bell rope – waiting for the hour

they don’t sleep they don’t die, they wait to ring the resurrection.

This soil is theirs and ours – no one can take it from us

ΑΝΘΟΛΟΓΙΑ ΝΕΟΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΠΟΙΗΣΗΣ: 1550-2017, μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2018

NEO — HELLENE POETS, An Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry: 1550-2017, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2018

Yannis Ritsos/translated by Manolis Aligizakis

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ΡΩΜΙΟΣΥΝΗ (Απόσπασμα)

V

Κάτσανε κάτου απ᾿ τις ελιὲς το απομεσήμερο
κοσκινίζοντας το σταχτὶ φως με τα χοντρά τους δάχτυλα
βγάλανε τις μπαλάσκες τους και λογαριάζαν πόσος μόχτος χώρεσε στο μονοπάτι της νύχτας
πόση πίκρα στον κόμπο της αγριομολόχας
πόσο κουράγιο μες στα μάτια του ξυπόλυτου παιδιού που κράταε τη σημαία.

Είχε απομείνει πάρωρα στον κάμπο το στερνὸ χελιδόνι
ζυγιαζόταν στον αέρα σα μία μαύρη λουρίδα στο μανίκι του φθινοπώρου.
Τίποτ᾿ άλλο δεν έμενε. Μονάχα κάπνιζαν ακόμα τα καμένα σπίτια.
Οι άλλοι μας άφησαν απὸ καιρὸ κάτου απ᾿ τις πέτρες
με το σκισμένο τους πουκάμισο και με τον όρκο τους γραμμένο στην πεσμένη πόρτα.
Δεν έκλαψε κανείς. Δεν είχαμε καιρό. Μόνο που η σιγαλιὰ μεγάλωνε πολὺ
κ᾿ είταν το φως συγυρισμένο κάτου στο γιαλὸ σαν το νοικοκυριὸ της σκοτωμένης.

Τί θα γίνουν τώρα όταν θα `ρθει η βροχὴ μες στο χώμα με τα σάπια πλατανόφυλλα
τί θα γίνουν όταν ο ήλιος στεγνώσει στο χράμι της συγνεφιάς σαν σπασμένος κοριὸς στο χωριάτικο κρεββάτι
όταν σταθεί στην καμινάδα του απόβραδου μπαλσαμωμένο το λελέκι του χιονιού;
Ρίχνουνε αλάτι οι γριὲς μανάδες στη φωτιά, ρίχνουνε χώμα στα μαλλιά τους
ξερρίζωσαν τ᾿ αμπέλια της Μονοβασιάς μη και γλυκάνει μαύρη ρώγα των εχτρών το στόμα,
βάλαν σ᾿ ένα σακκούλι των παππούδων τους τα κόκκαλα μαζὶ με τα μαχαιροπήρουνα
και ταριγυρνάνε έξω απ᾿ τα τείχη της πατρίδας τους ψάχνοντας τόπο να ριζώσουνε στη νύχτα.

Θάναι δύσκολο τώρα να βρούμε μία γλώσσα πιο της κερασιάς, λιγότερο δυνατή, λιγότερο πέτρινη –
τα χέρια εκείνα που απομείναν στα χωράφια ή απάνου στα βουνὰ ή κάτου απ᾿ τη θάλασσα, δεν ξεχνάνε –
θάναι δύσκολο να ξεχάσουμε τα χέρια τους
θάναι δύσκολο τα χέρια πούβγαλαν κάλους στη σκανδάλη να ρωτήσουν μία μαργαρίτα
να πουν ευχαριστώ πάνου στο γόνατο τους, πάνου στο βιβλίο ή μες στο μπούστο της αστροφεγγιάς.
Θα χρειαστεί καιρός. Και πρέπει να μιλήσουμε. Ώσπου να βρουν το ψωμὶ και το δίκιο τους.

Δυο κουπιὰ καρφωμένα στον άμμο τα χαράματα με τη φουρτούνα. Πούναι η βάρκα;
Ένα αλέτρι μπηγμένο στο χώμα, κι ο αγέρας να φυσάει. Καμένο το χώμα. Πούναι ο ζευγολάτης;
Στάχτη η ελιά, τ᾿ αμπέλι και το σπίτι.
Βραδιὰ σπαγγοραμμένη με τ᾿ αστέρια της μες στο τσουράπι.
Δάφνη ξερὴ και ρίγανη στο μεσοντούλαπο του τοίχου. Δεν τ᾿ άγγιξε η φωτιά.
Καπνισμένο τσουκάλι στο τζάκι – και να κοχλάζει μόνο το νερὸ στο κλειδωμένο σπίτι. Δεν πρόφτασαν να φάνε.

Απάνω στο καμένο τους πορτόφυλλο οι φλέβες του δάσους – τρέχει το αίμα μες στις φλέβες.
Και να το βήμα γνώριμο. Ποιὸς είναι;
Γνώριμο βήμα με τις πρόκες στον ανήφορο.

Το σύρσιμο της ρίζας μες στην πέτρα. Κάποιος έρχεται.
Το σύνθημα, το παρασύνθημα. Αδελφός. Καλησπέρα.
Θα βρει λοιπὸν το φως τα δέντρα του, θα βρει μία μέρα και το δέντρο τον καρπό του.
Του σκοτωμένου το παγούρι έχει νερὸ και φως ακόμα.
Καλησπέρα, αδερφέ μου. Το ξέρεις. Καλησπέρα.

Στην ξύλινη παράγκα της πουλάει μπαχαρικὰ και ντεμισέδες η γριὰ δύση.
Κανεὶς δεν αγοράζει. Τράβηξαν ψηλά.
Δύσκολο πια να χαμηλώσουν.
Δύσκολο και να πουν το μπόι τους.

Μέσα στ᾿ αλώνι όπου δειπνήσαν μία νυχτιὰ τα παλληκάρια
μένουνε τα λιοκούκουτσα και το αίμα το ξερό του φεγγαριού
κι ο δεκαπεντασύλλαβος απ᾿ τ᾿ άρματα τους.
Την άλλη μέρα τα σπουργίτια φάγανε τα ψίχουλα της κουραμάνας τους,
τα παιδιὰ φτιάξανε παιχνίδια με τα σπίρτα τους που ανάψαν τα τσιγάρα τους και τ᾿ αγκάθια τῶν άστρων.

Κ᾿ η πέτρα όπου καθήσαν κάτου απ᾿ τις ελιὲς το απομεσήμερο αντικρὺ στη θάλασσα
αύριο θα γίνει ασβέστης στο καμίνι
μεθαύριο θ᾿ ασβεστώσουμε τα σπίτια μας και το πεζούλι της Αγιὰ-Σωτήρας
αντιμεθαύριο θα φυτέψουμε το σπόρο εκεί που αποκοιμήθηκαν
κ᾿ ένα μπουμπούκι της ροδιάς θα σκάσει πρώτο γέλιο του μωρού στον κόρφο της λιακάδας.
Κ᾿ ύστερα πια θα κάτσουμε στην πέτρα να διαβάσουμε όλη την καρδιά τους
σα να διαβάζουμε πρώτη φορὰ την ιστορία του κόσμου.

 

 

ROMIOSINI (Excerpt)

 

V

 

They sat under the olive trees in early afternoon sieving the gray light with their big fingers

they took off their cartridge belts and measured the anguish fitting the path of night

how much bitterness fits in the wild mallow’s knot

how much courage in the eyes of a shoe-less child holding up the flag

 

Past its time the last swallow remained in the plains weighed himself in midair like a black band

on the sleeve of autumn

Nothing else remained; only the burnt up houses smoldering.

The others who left us some time ago lay under the rocks

with their ripped shirts and their oaths written on the fallen door

No one cried – we had no time; only silence became deeper

and the light gathered down the shore like the

orderly house of the dead woman.

 

What will become of them when the rain comes amid the rotten plane leaves in the soil?

What will happen to them when the sun dries up in a blanket of cloud

like a crushed bug in a villager’s bed?

when the snow stork stands embalmed on the chimney of last night?

Old mothers scatter salt in the fire they scatter soil over their hair

they have uprooted the grapevines of Monemvasia so that not a black grape

will ever sweeten the enemy’s mouth

they placed in a sack the grandfather’s bones along with their knives and forks

and they go around outside the walls of their country looking

where to grow roots in the night.

 

It’ll be hard to find a tongue less powerful less stony than the cherry tree’s –

those hands that were left in the fields or up on the mountains or down under the sea

do not forget they never forget –

it’ll be difficult for us to forget their hands

it’ll be hard for the hands that grew calluses on the trigger to ask a daisy

to say thank you on their knees or on the book or in the bosom of the starlight

it will take time and we need to speak up until they find their bread and their rights.

 

Two oars rooted down in the sand at dawn in rough seas. Where’s the boat?

A plow embedded in the soil and the wind blowing

burnt up earth Where is the plowman?

Ashes the olive tree the grapevine and the house

Night stitched on with her stars inside the sock

Dried laurel leaves and oregano in the middle-self on the wall Fire couldn’t reach it

smoked up cooking pot in the fire – and the water boils by itself in the locked up house.

They had no time to eat

 

The forest’s veins on their burnt door leaf – blood flows in the veins

And here is the familiar footstep. Who’s he?

Familiar footsteps going uphill the nails of their soles.

 

Crawl of root in the rock. Someone’s coming

The password the response a brother, good evening

So then light will find its trees the tree will find its fruit

the flask of the killed still has water and light

Good evening my brother Good evening.

 

The old Lady West sells herbs and embroidery in her wooden shack

no one buys them. They’ve reached up high.

It’s difficult for them to come down anymore.

It’s difficult for them to fit in their own height.

 

On the threshing floor where the braves ate one night

the olive pits and the dry blood of the moon remain

and their fifteen-syllabic armory

the cypresses and laurels remain all around

Next day sparrows ate the crumbs of their army bread

children made toys out of the matches

that lit their cigarettes and the stars’ thorns

 

And the rock where they sat under olive trees in the afternoon opposite the sea

it will become whitewash in the kiln tomorrow

day after we’ll paint our houses and the bench of Saint Savior

the day after that we’ll plant the seed where they fell asleep

and a pomegranate bud will flash its first baby smile on the breast of sunshine

After that we’ll sit on the soil to read all their hearts

as if we read from the world history for the first time.

ΑΝΘΟΛΟΓΙΑ ΝΕΟΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΠΟΙΗΣΗΣ: 1550-2017, μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2018

NEO — HELLENE POETS, An Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry: 1550-2017, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2018

 

Yannis Ritsos-Romiosini//translated by Manolis Aligizakis

Ritsos_front large

ΡΩΜΙΟΣΥΝΗ

I

Αυτά τα δέντρα δε βολεύονται με λιγότερο ουρανό,
αυτὲς οι πέτρες δε βολεύονται κάτου απ᾿ τα ξένα βήματα,
αυτὰ τα πρόσωπα δε βολεύονται παρὰ μόνο στον ήλιο,
αυτὲς οι καρδιὲς δε βολεύονται παρὰ μόνο στο δίκιο.

Ετούτο το τοπίο είναι σκληρὸ σαν τη σιωπή,
σφίγγει στον κόρφο του τα πυρωμένα του λιθάρια,
σφίγγει στο φως τις ορφανὲς ελιές του και τ᾿ αμπέλια του,
σφίγγει τα δόντια. Δεν υπάρχει νερό. Μονάχα φως.
Ο δρόμος χάνεται στο φως κι ο ίσκιος της μάντρας είναι σίδερο.
Μαρμάρωσαν τα δέντρα, τα ποτάμια κ᾿ οι φωνὲς μες στον ασβέστη του ήλιου.
Η ρίζα σκοντάφτει στο μάρμαρο. Τα σκονισμένα σκοίνα.
Το μουλάρι κι ο βράχος. Λαχανιάζουν. Δεν υπάρχει νερό.
Όλοι διψάνε. Χρόνια τώρα. Όλοι μασάνε μία μπουκιὰ ουρανὸ πάνου απ᾿ την πίκρα τους.
Τα μάτια τους είναι κόκκινα απ᾿ την αγρύπνια,
μία βαθειὰ χαρακιὰ σφηνωμένη ανάμεσα στα φρύδια τους
σαν ένα κυπαρίσσι ανάμεσα σε δυο βουνὰ το λιόγερμα.

Το χέρι τους είναι κολλημένο στο ντουφέκι
το ντουφέκι είναι συνέχεια του χεριού τους
το χέρι τους είναι συνέχεια της ψυχής τους –
έχουν στα χείλια τους απάνου το θυμὸ
κ᾿ έχουνε τον καημὸ βαθιὰ-βαθιὰ στα μάτια τους
σαν ένα αστέρι σε μία γούβα αλάτι.

Όταν σφίγγουν το χέρι, ο ήλιος είναι βέβαιος για τον κόσμο
όταν χαμογελάνε, ένα μικρὸ χελιδόνι φεύγει μες απ᾿ τ᾿ άγρια γένια τους
όταν κοιμούνται, δώδεκα άστρα πέφτουν απ᾿ τις άδειες τσέπες τους
όταν σκοτώνονται, η ζωὴ τραβάει την ανηφόρα με σημαίες και με ταμπούρλα.

Τόσα χρόνια όλοι πεινάνε, όλοι διψάνε, όλοι σκοτώνονται
πολιορκημένοι απὸ στεριὰ και θάλασσα,
έφαγε η κάψα τα χωράφια τους κ᾿ η αρμύρα πότισε τα σπίτια τους
ο αγέρας έριξε τις πόρτες τους και τις λίγες πασχαλιὲς της πλατείας
απὸ τις τρύπες του πανωφοριού τους μπαινοβγαίνει ο θάνατος
η γλώσσα τους είναι στυφὴ σαν το κυπαρισσόμηλο
πέθαναν τα σκυλιά τους τυλιγμένα στον ίσκιο τους
η βροχὴ χτυπάει στα κόκκαλά τους.

Πάνου στα καραούλια πετρωμένοι καπνίζουν τη σβουνιὰ και τη νύχτα
βιγλίζοντας το μανιασμένο πέλαγο όπου βούλιαξε
το σπασμένο κατάρτι του φεγγαριού.

Τo ψωμὶ σώθηκε, τα βόλια σώθηκαν,
γεμίζουν τώρα τα κανόνια τους μόνο με την καρδιά τους.

Τόσα χρόνια πολιορκημένοι απὸ στεριὰ και θάλασσα
όλοι πεινάνε, όλοι σκοτώνονται και κανένας δεν πέθανε –
πάνου στα καραούλια λάμπουνε τα μάτια τους,
μία μεγάλη σημαία, μία μεγάλη φωτιὰ κατακόκκινη
και κάθε αυγὴ χιλιάδες περιστέρια φεύγουν απ᾿ τα χέρια τους

για τις τέσσερις πόρτες του ορίζοντα.

 

ROMIOSINI

I

These trees don’t take comfort in less sky

these rocks don’t take comfort under foreigners’

footsteps

these faces don’t take comfort but only

in the sun

these hearts don’t take comfort except in justice.

This landscape is merciless like silence

it hugs its fiery rocks tightly in its bosom

it hugs tightly in the sun its orphan olive trees

and grapevines

it clenches its teeth. There is no water. Only light.

The road vanishes in light and the shadow of the fence wall

is made of steel.

Trees rivers and voices turn to marble

in the sun’s whitewash.

The root stumbles on the marble. The dusty

bulrush.

The mule and the rock. They all pant. There is

no water.

They’ve all been thirsty for years and years. They all

chew one bite of sky over their bitterness.

Their eyes are red for lack of sleep

a deep wrinkle is wedged between their eyebrows

like a cypress between two mountains

at sundown

their hands are glued to their rifles

their rifles are extensions of their hands

their hands extensions of their souls –

they have anger on their lips

and grief deep within their eyes

like a star in a pothole of salt.

When they clasp a hand the sun is certain

of the world

when they smile a small swallow flies away from

their rough beards

when they sleep twelve stars fall from their

empty pockets

when they are killed life follows the uphill with

flags and drums.

For so many years they’ve all starved they’ve all thirsted

they’ve all been killed

besieged by land and sea

sweltering has devoured their fields and salinity has

drenched their homes

wind pushed down their doors and the few lilac shrubs

of the plaza

death goes in and out the holes of their overcoats

their tongues are astringent like cypress cones

their dogs died wrapped in their own shadows

the rain pounds on their bones.

Petrified on their battlements they smoke

the cow dung and during the night

they keep watch on the furious pelagos where

the broken mast of the moon sank.

The bread running out the ammunition spent

now they load their cannons with only their

hearts.

So many years besieged by land

and sea

they are all hungry they are all killed and yet

nobody died –

on their battlements their eyes shine

a large flag a great conflagration

totally red

and every dawn thousands of doves fly out

from their hands

to the four gates of the horizon

 

Yannis Ritsos-Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, BC, 2011

 

Aristotle-Ethics II

aaristo001p1

The Mean

 

Now this discussion has shown that habit does make all the difference to our lives without being the only thing shaping those lives and without being the final form they take. The same discussion also points to a way to make some sense of one of the things that has always puzzled me most in the Ethics, the insistence that moral virtue is always in its own nature a mean condition. Quantitative relations are so far from any serious human situation that they would seem to be present only incidentally or metaphorically, but Aristotle says that “by its thing-hood and by the account that unfolds what it is for it to be, virtue is a mean.” (1107a, 7-8) This invites such hopeless shallowness as in the following sentences from a recent article in the journal Ancient Philosophy (Vol. 8, pp. 101-4): “To illustrate …0 marks the mean (e.g. Courage); …Cowardice is -3 while Rashness is 3…In our number language…’Always try to lower the absolute value of your vice.’ ” This scholar thinks achieving courage is like tuning in a radio station on an analog dial. Those who do not sink this low might think instead that Aristotle is praising a kind of mediocrity, like that found in those who used to go to college to get “gentlemen’s C’s.” But what sort of courage could be found in these timid souls, whose only aim in life is to blend so well into their social surroundings that virtue can never be chosen in preference to a fashionable vice? Aristotle points out twice that every moral virtue is an extreme (1107a, 8-9, 22-4), but he keeps that observation secondary to an over-riding sense in which it is a mean.

Could there be anything at all to the notion that we hone in on a virtue from two sides? There is a wonderful image of this sort of thing in the novel Nop’s Trials by Donald McCaig. The protagonist is not a human being, but a border collie named Nop. The author describes the way the dog has to find the balance point, the exact distance behind a herd of sheep from which he can drive the whole herd forward in a coherent mass. When the dog is too close, the sheep panic and run off in all directions; when he is too far back, the sheep ignore him, and turn in all directions to graze. While in motion, a good working dog keeps adjusting his pace to maintain the exact mean position that keeps the sheep stepping lively in the direction he determines. Now working border collies are brave, tireless, and determined. They have been documented as running more than a hundred miles in a day, and they love their work. There is no question that they display virtue, but it is not human virtue and not even of the same form. Some human activities do require the long sustained tension a sheep dog is always holding on to, an active state stretched to the limit, constantly and anxiously kept in balance. Running on a tightrope might capture the same flavor. But constantly maintained anxiety is not the kind of stable equilibrium Aristotle attributes to the virtuous human soul.

I think we may have stumbled on the way that human virtue is a mean when we found that habits were necessary in order to counteract other habits. This does accord with the things Aristotle says about straightening warped boards, aiming away from the worse extreme, and being on guard against the seductions of pleasure. (1109a, 30- b9) The habit of abstinence from bodily pleasure is at the opposite extreme from the childish habit of yielding to every immediate desire. Alone, either of them is a vice, according to Aristotle. The glutton, the drunkard, the person enslaved to every sexual impulse obviously cannot ever be happy, but the opposite extremes, which Aristotle groups together as a kind of numbness or denial of the senses (1107b, 8), miss the proper relation to bodily pleasure on the other side. It may seem that temperance in relation to food, say, depends merely on determining how many ounces of chocolate mousse to eat. Aristotle’s example of Milo the wrestler, who needs more food than the rest of us do to sustain him, seems to say this, but I think that misses the point. The example is given only to show that there is no single action that can be prescribed as right for every person and every circumstance, and it is not strictly analogous even to temperance with respect to food. What is at stake is not a correct quantity of food but a right relation to the pleasure that comes from eating.

Suppose you have carefully saved a bowl of chocolate mousse all day for your mid-evening snack, and just as you are ready to treat yourself, a friend arrives unexpectedly to visit. If you are a glutton, you might hide the mousse until the friend leaves, or gobble it down before you open the door. If you have the opposite vice, and have puritanically suppressed in yourself all indulgence in the pleasures of food, you probably won’t have chocolate mousse or any other treat to offer your visitor. If the state of your soul is in the mean in these matters, you are neither enslaved to nor shut out from the pleasure of eating treats, and can enhance the visit of a friend by sharing them. What you are sharing is incidentally the 6 ounces of chocolate mousse; the point is that you are sharing the pleasure, which is not found on any scale of measurement. If the pleasures of the body master you, or if you have broken their power only by rooting them out, you have missed out on the natural role that such pleasures can play in life. In the mean between those two states, you are free to notice possibilities that serve good ends, and to act on them.

It is worth repeating that the mean is not the 3 ounces of mousse on which you settled, since if two friends had come to visit you would have been willing to eat 2 ounces. That would not have been a division of the food but a multiplication of the pleasure. What is enlightening about the example is how readily and how nearly universally we all see that sharing the treat is the right thing to do. This is a matter of immediate perception, but it is perception of a special kind, not that of any one of the five senses, Aristotle says, but the sort by which we perceive that a triangle is the last kind of figure into which a polygon can be divided. (1142a, 28-30) This is thoughtful and imaginative perceiving, but it has to be perceived. The childish sort of habit clouds our sight, but the liberating counter-habit clears that sight. This is why Aristotle says that the person of moral stature, the spoudaios, is the one to whom things appear as they truly are. (1113a, 30-1) Once the earliest habits are neutralized, our desires are disentangled from the pressure for immediate gratification, we are calm enough to think, and most important, we can see what is in front of us in all its possibility. The mean state here is not a point on a dial that we need to fiddle up and down; it is a clearing in the midst of pleasures and pains that lets us judge what seems most truly pleasant and painful.

Achieving temperance toward bodily pleasures is, by this account, finding a mean, but it is not a simple question of adjusting a single varying condition toward the more or the less. The person who is always fighting the same battle, always struggling like the sheep dog to maintain the balance point between too much and too little indulgence, does not, according to Aristotle, have the virtue of temperance, but is at best selfrestrained or continent. In that case, the reasoning part of the soul is keeping the impulses reined in. But those impulses can slip the reins and go their own way, as parts of the body do in people with certain disorders of the nerves. (1102b, 14-22) Control in self-restrained people is an anxious, unstable equilibrium that will lapse whenever vigilance is relaxed. It is the old story of the conflict between the head and the emotions, never resolved but subject to truces. A soul with separate, self-contained rational and irrational parts could never become one undivided human being, since the parties would always believe they had divergent interests, and could at best compromise. The virtuous soul, on the contrary, blends all its parts in the act of choice.

This is arguably the best way to understand the active state of the soul that constitutes moral virtue and forms character. It is the condition in which all the powers of the soul are at work together, making it possible for action to engage the whole human being. The work of achieving character is a process of clearing away the obstacles that stand in the way of the full efficacy of the soul. Someone who is partial to food or drink, or to running away from trouble or to looking for trouble, is a partial human being. Let the whole power of the soul have its influence, and the choices that result will have the characteristic look that we call “courage” or “temperance” or simply “virtue.” Now this adjective “characteristic” comes from the Greek word charactÍr, which means the distinctive mark scratched or stamped on anything, and which is apparently never used in the Nicomachean Ethics. In the sense of character of which we are speaking, the word for which is Íthos, we see an outline of the human form itself. A person of character is someone you can count on, because there is a human nature in a deeper sense than that which refers to our early state of weakness. Someone with character has taken a stand in that fully mature nature, and cannot be moved all the way out of it.

But there is also such a thing as bad character, and this is what Aristotle means by vice, as distinct from bad habits or weakness. It is possible for someone with full responsibility and the free use of intellect to choose always to yield to bodily pleasure or to greed. Virtue is a mean, first because it can only emerge out of the stand-off between opposite habits, but second because it chooses to take its stand not in either of those habits but between them. In this middle region, thinking does come into play, but it is not correct to say that virtue takes its stand in principle; Aristotle makes clear that vice is a principled choice that following some extreme path toward or away from pleasure is right. (1146b, 22-3) Principles are wonderful things, but there are too many of them, and exclusive adherence to any one of them is always a vice.

In our earlier example, the true glutton would be someone who does not just have a bad habit of always indulging the desire for food, but someone who has chosen on principle that one ought always to yield to it. In Plato’s Gorgias, Callicles argues just that, about food, drink, and sex. He is serious, even though he is young and still open to argument. But the only principled alternative he can conceive is the denial of the body, and the choice of a life fit only for stones or corpses. (492E) This is the way most attempts to be serious about right action go astray. What, for example, is the virtue of a seminar leader? Is it to ask appropriate questions but never state an opinion? Or is it to offer everything one has learned on the subject of discussion? What principle should rule?–that all learning must come from the learners, or that without prior instruction no useful learning can take place? Is there a hybrid principle? Or should one try to find the mid-way point between the opposite principles? Or is the virtue some third kind of thing altogether?

Just as habits of indulgence always stand opposed to habits of abstinence, so too does every principle of action have its opposite principle. If good habituation ensures that we are not swept away by our strongest impulses, and the exercise of intelligence ensures that we will see two worthy sides to every question about action, what governs the choice of the mean? Aristotle gives this answer: “such things are among particulars, and the judgment is in the act of sense-perception.” (1109b, 23-4) But this is the calmly energetic, thought-laden perception to which we referred earlier. The origin of virtuous action is neither intellect nor appetite, but is variously described as intellect through-and-through infused with appetite, or appetite wholly infused with thinking, or appetite and reason joined for the sake of something; this unitary source is called by Aristotle simply anthropos. (1139a, 34, b, S-7) But our thinking must contribute right reason (ho orthos logos) and our appetites must contribute rightdesire (hÍ orthÍ orexis) if the action is to have moral stature. (1114b, 29, 1139a, 24-6, 31-2) What makes them right can only be the something for the sake of which they unite, and this is what is said to be accessible only to sense perception. This brings us to the third word we need to think about.

Source: www.iep.utm.edu

 

Yannis Ritsos//translated by Manolis Aligizakis

11007741_1028336327180072_6866849738460871477_n

ΟΥΔΕΤΕΡΟΣ ΧΡΟΝΟΣ

 

Υπάρχουν βιβλία μικρού σχήματος με στάλες κερί στο εξώφυλλό τους

σα να `κλαιγε στο διπλανό δωμάτιο μια γυναίκα. Υπάρχουν ανθρώποι

πολύ δοξασμένοι στη ζωή, λησμονημένοι μετά θάνατον. Κι ενώ

κανένας πια δε μας πρόσεχε, μπορέσαμε ελεύθεροι να δούμε

απέναντι, στο αέτωμα του ναού, τους τρεις μαρμάρινους ιππείς γυμνούς,

πανέμορφους,

χωρίς ασπίδες κι ακόντια, περίχρυσους απ’ την  εσπέρα,

να προχωρούν με σιωπηλή κατανόηση προς τον δικό μας ξενώνα,

εκεί που `χαμε αφήσει ολόκληρο βουνό διπλωμένες κουβέρτες

και μεγάλα ρολόγια βυθισμένων καραβιών, από καιρό σταματημένα.

 

NEUTRAL TIME

 

 There are books of small size with drops of wax on their covers,

as though a woman cried in the next room. There are people

much glorified in their lives forgotten after their deaths. And while

no one paid attention to us anymore, we managed quite freely

to look on the opposite side, at the temple pediment, the three marble

riders naked, most ever handsome,

without spears and shields, golden from the sunset light,

to walk with silent understanding toward our guesthouse,

where we had left a whole mountain of folded blankets

and big clocks of sunken ships, for a long time stopped.

 

YANNIS RITSOS-SELECTED POEMS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2013

www.libroslibertad.com

www.manolisaligizakis.com

Έρημη Χώρα//Waste Land by T S Elliot

tseliot

ΕΝΟΤΗΤΑ ΠΡΩΤΗ
Η ΕΡΗΜΗ ΧΩΡΑ
Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis
vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent:
Σίβυλλα, τι θέλεις; Respondebat illa: αποθανείν θέλω.

Στον Ezra Pound
Il miglior fabbro

Α΄ Η ΤΑΦΗ ΤΟΥ ΝΕΚΡΟΥ

Ο Απρίλης είναι ο μήνας ο σκληρός, γεννώντας
Μες απ’ την πεθαμένη γη τις πασχαλιές, σμίγοντας
Θύμηση κι επιθυμία, ταράζοντας
Με τη βροχή της άνοιξης ρίζες οκνές.
Ο χειμώνας μας ζέσταινε, σκεπάζοντας
Τη γη με το χιόνι της λησμονιάς, θρέφοντας
Λίγη ζωή μ’ απόξερους βολβούς.
Το καλοκαίρι μας ξάφνισε καθώς ήρθε πάνω απ’
το Σταρνμπέργκερζε
Με μια μπόρα• σταματήσαμε στις κολόνες,
Και προχωρήσαμε στη λιακάδα, ως το Χόφγκαρτεν,
Κι ήπιαμε καφέ, και κουβεντιάσαμε καμιάν ώρα.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen,
echt deutsch.
Και σαν ήμασταν παιδιά, μέναμε στου αρχιδούκα,
Του ξαδέρφου μου, με πήρε με το έλκηθρο,
Και τρόμαξα. Κι έλεγε, Μαρία,
Μαρία, κρατήσου δυνατά. Και πήραμε τhν κατηφόρα.
Εκεί νιώθεις ελευθερία, στa βουνά.
Διαβάζω, σχεδόν όλη νύχτα, και πηγαίνω το
χειμώνα στο νότο.

Ποιές ρίζες απλώνονται γρυπές, ποιοι κλώνοι
δυναμώνουν
Μέσα στα πέτρινα τούτα σαρίδια; Γιε του ανθρώπου,
Να πεις ή να μαντέψεις, δεν μπορείς, γιατί γνωρίζεις μόνο
Μια στοίβα σπασμένες εικόνες, όπου χτυπάει ο
ήλιος,
Και δε σου δίνει σκέπη το πεθαμένο δέντρο, κι ο
γρύλος ανακούφιση,
Κι η στεγνή πέτρα ήχο νερού. Μόνο
Έχει σκιά στον κόκκινο τούτο βράχο,
(Έλα κάτω απ’ τον ίσκιο του κόκκινου βράχου),
Και θα σου δείξω κάτι διαφορετικό
Κι από τον ίσκιο σου το πρωί που δρασκελάει
ξοπίσω σου
Κι από τον ίσκιο σου το βράδυ που ορθώνεται
να σ’ ανταμώσει
Μέσα σε μια φούχτα σκόνη θα σου δείξω το φόβο.

Frisch weht der Wind
Der Heimat zu,
Mein Irisch Kind,
Wo weilest du?

«Μου χάρισες γυάκινθους πρώτη φορά πριν ένα
χρόνο•
Μ’ έλεγαν η γυακίνθινη κοπέλα».
—Όμως όταν γυρίσαμε απ’ τον κήπο των Γυακίνθων,
Ήταν αργά, γεμάτη η αγκάλη σου, και τα μαλλιά
σου υγρά, δεν μπορούσα
Να μιλήσω, θολώσανε τα μάτια μου, δεν ήμουν
Ζωντανός μήτε πεθαμένος, και δεν ήξερα τίποτε,
Κοιτάζοντας στην καρδιά του φωτός, τη σιωπή.
Oed’und leer das Meer.

Η κυρία Σόζοστρις, διάσημη χαρτομάντισσα,
Ήταν πολύ κρυολογημένη, μολαταύτα
Λένε πως είναι η πιο σοφή γυναίκα της Ευρώπης,
Με μια διαβολεμένη τράπουλα. Εδώ, είπε,
Είν’ το χαρτί σας, ο πνιγμένος Φοίνικας
Θαλασσινός,
(Να, τα μαργαριτάρια, τα μάτια του. Κοιτάχτε!)
Εδώ ’ναι η Μπελλαντόνα, η Δέσποινα των Βράχων,
Η δέσποινα των καταστάσεων.
Εδώ ’ναι ο άνθρωπος με τα τρία μπαστούνια, κι
εδώ ο Τροχός,
Κι εδώ ο μονόφταλμος έμπορας, και τούτο το
χαρτί,
Τ’ αδειανό, κάτι που σηκώνει στον ώμο,
Που ’ναι απαγορεμένο να το δω. Δε βρίσκω
Τον Κρεμασμένο. Να φοβάστε τον πνιγμό.
Βλέπω πλήθος λαό, να περπατά ένα γύρο.
Ευκαριστώ. Α δείτε την αγαπητή μου Κυρίαν
Ισοψάλτου,
Πείτε της πως θα φέρνω τ’ ωροσκόπιο μοναχή
μου:
Πρέπει να φυλαγόμαστε πολύ στον καιρό μας.

Ανύπαρχτη Πολιτεία,
Μέσα στην καστανή καταχνιά μιας χειμωνιάτικης
αυγής,
Χύνουνταν στο Γιοφύρι της Λόντρας ένα πλήθος,
τόσοι πολλοί,
Δεν το ’χα σκεφτεί πως ο θάνατος είχε ξεκάνει
τόσους πολλούς.
Μικροί και σπάνιοι στεναγμοί αναδινόντουσαν,
Και κάρφωνε ο καθένας μπρος στα πόδια του τα
μάτια.
Χύνουνταν πέρα στο ύψωμα και κάτω στο Κίνγκ
Ουίλλιαμ Στρήτ,
Εκεί που η Παναγία Γούλνοθ μέτραε τις ώρες
Με ήχο νεκρό στο στερνό χτύπημα των εννιά.
Εκεί είδα έναν που γνώριζα, και τον σταμάτησα,
φωνάζοντας: «Στέτσον!
Συ που ήσουνα μαζί μου στις Μύλες με τα καράβια !
Κείνο το λείψανο που φύτεψες στον κήπο σου τον
άλλο χρόνο,
Άρχισε να βλασταίνει; Πες μου, θ’ ανθίσει εφέτο;
Ή μήπως η ξαφνική παγωνιά πείραξε τη βραγιά
του;
Ω κράτα μακριά το Σκυλί τον αγαπάει. τον
άνθρωπο,
Τι με τα νύχια του θα το ξεχώσει πάλι !
Συ! hypocrite lecteur ! – mon semblable,
– mon frère!»

 

The Waste Land

By T. S. Eliot

                                  FOR EZRA POUND
                                IL MIGLIOR FABBRO

  1. The Burial of the Dead

 

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers.

Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee

With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,

And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,

And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.

Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.

And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,

My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,

And I was frightened. He said, Marie,

Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.

In the mountains, there you feel free.

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

 

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water. Only

There is shadow under this red rock,

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

                      Frisch weht der Wind

                      Der Heimat zu

                      Mein Irisch Kind,

                      Wo weilest du?

“You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;

“They called me the hyacinth girl.”

—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,

Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not

Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither

Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,

Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

Oed’ und leer das Meer.

 

Madame Sosostris, famous clairvoyante,

Had a bad cold, nevertheless

Is known to be the wisest woman in Europe,

With a wicked pack of cards. Here, said she,

Is your card, the drowned Phoenician Sailor,

(Those are pearls that were his eyes. Look!)

Here is Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks,

The lady of situations.

Here is the man with three staves, and here the Wheel,

And here is the one-eyed merchant, and this card,

Which is blank, is something he carries on his back,

Which I am forbidden to see. I do not find

The Hanged Man. Fear death by water.

I see crowds of people, walking round in a ring.

Thank you. If you see dear Mrs. Equitone,

Tell her I bring the horoscope myself:

One must be so careful these days.

 

Unreal City,

Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,

A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,

I had not thought death had undone so many.

Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,

And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

Flowed up the hill and down King William Street,

To where Saint Mary Woolnoth kept the hours

With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine.

There I saw one I knew, and stopped him, crying: “Stetson!

“You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!

“That corpse you planted last year in your garden,

“Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?

“Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?

“Oh keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men,

“Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!

“You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!”

 

T S ELLIOTT.

The Medusa Glance

medusa glance covercrop.jpg

ΚΑΤΗΓΟΡΙΑ

 

Το έντιμο του επαίτη χέρι

διαλαλούσε την απόγνωσή του

 

που απλώθηκε για να ζητήσει

τον άσβυστο σηματωρό

δευτερολέπτων στεναγμό

πουλιού που `χασε τα φτερά του

λυπητερό μουρμουρητό

 

κι ο επαίτης έσκυψε

άτεγκτη απαντοχή

απίστευτα για να κουρσέψει

της μοίρας τα χαστούκι

στο μάγουλο που ένιωσε

 

σα να εξαργύρωνε

την άδοξη ζωή του

με τ’ άπιαστο όνειρο

που η ζωή του αρνήθηκε

 

CONDEMNATION

 

The beggar’s honest hand extending despair

inexhaustible signalman

momentary begging sigh

sorrowful chirp of bird

that clipped its wings

 

beggar who stooped

unending fortitude

to raid the fate’s slap

that on the cheek he felt

 

as if replacing

his inglorious life

with the unrealized dream

life denied him

 

The Medusa Glance, poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstasis Editions., 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Manolis Anagnostakis/translated by Manolis Aligizakis

managno

Η ΑΓΑΠΗ ΕΙΝΑΙ Ο ΦΟΒΟΣ

Η αγάπη είναι ο φόβος που μας ενώνει με τους άλλους
Όταν υπόταξαν τις μέρες μας και τις κρεμάσανε σα δάκρυα
Όταν μαζί τους πεθάνανε σε μίαν οικτρὴ παραμόρφωση
Τα τελευταία μας σχήματα των παιδικών αισθημάτων
Και τί κρατά τάχα το χέρι που οι άνθρωποι δίνουν;
Ξέρει να σφίγγει γερὰ εκεί που ο λογισμός μας ξεγελά
Την ώρα που ο χρόνος σταμάτησε και η μνήμη ξεριζώθηκε
Σα μίαν εκζήτηση παράλογη πέρα απὸ κάθε νόημα;
(κι αυτοὶ γυρίζουν πίσω μια μέρα χωρὶς στο μυαλὸ μία ρυτίδα
βρίσκουνε τις γυναίκες τους και τα παιδιά τους μεγάλωσαν
πηγαίνουνε στα μικρομάγαζα και στα καφενεία της συνοικίας
διαβάζουνε κάθε πρωὶ την εποποιία της καθημερινότητας.)
Πεθαίνουμε τάχα για τους άλλους ή γιατὶ έτσι νικούμε τη ζωὴ
Ἢ γιατὶ έτσι φτύνουμε ένα-ένα τα τιποτένια ομοιώματα
Και μία στιγμὴ στο στεγνωμένο νου τους περνά μίαν ἡλιαχτίδα
Κάτι σα μια θαμπὴ ανάμνηση μιας ζωικής προϊστορίας.
Φτάνουμε μέρες που δεν έχεις πια τί να λογαριάσεις
Συμβάντα ερωτικὰ και χρηματιστηριακὲς επιχειρήσεις
Δε βρίσκεις καθρέφτες να φωνάξεις τ᾿ όνομά σου
Απλὲς προθέσεις ζωής διασφαλίζουν μίαν επικαιρότητα
Ανία, πόθοι, όνειρα, συναλλαγές, εξαπατήσεις
Κι άν σκέφτομαι είναι γιατὶ η συνήθεια είναι πιο προσιτὴ ἀπὸ την τύψη.
Μα ποιος θα `ρθει να κρατήσει την ορμὴ μιας μπόρας που πέφτει;

 

 

LOVE IS FEAR

 

 

Love is the fear that connects us with others

when they take control of our days and hang them like tears

when along with them our days die in a wretched disfiguring

the last schemes of our childish emotions

and what does the extended hand of people holds?

It knows how to squeeze tightly where logic fools us

when time stops and memory is uprooted

in a pointless search beyond logic?

(and one day they return without any wrinkle in their mind

they discover their wives and children have grown

they frequent the little stores and cafes of the neighborhood

they read the epic routine of each and every morning).

Do we truly die for the others or this way we avenge our lives

or this way we spit all the measly resemblances

and at some time a sunray goes through our dried up minds

something like a vague memory of our lively prehistory.

We have reached the days when you don’t know what to measure

erotic events and stock market companies

you can’t find a mirror into which to cry out your name

simple intentions of life secure the current affairs

boredom, lust, dreams, business dealings, cheating

and if I think it’s because custom is better than guilt.

However who will come to stop the momentum of falling rain?

 

ΑΝΘΟΛΟΓΙΑ ΝΕΟΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗΣ ΠΟΙΗΣΗΣ, μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, φθινόπωρο, 2017

ANTHOLOGY of NEOHELLENIC POETRY, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstsis Editions, Victoria, BC,  autumn 2017