Yannis Ritsos-Romiosini//translated by Manolis Aligizakis

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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

 

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Constantine Cavafy

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ΤΥΑΝΕΥΣ  ΓΛΥΠΤΗΣ

 

Καθώς πού θά τό ακούσατε, δέν είμ’ αρχάριος.

Κάμποση πέτρα από τά χέρια μου περνά.

Καί στήν πατρίδα μου, τά Τύανα, καλά

μέ ξέρουνε  κ’ εδώ αγάλματα πολλά

μέ παραγγείλανε οι συγκλητικοί.

 

Καί νά σάς δείξω

αμέσως μερικά. Παρατηρείστ’ αυτήν τήν Ρέα

σεβάσμια, γεμάτη καρτερία, παναρχαία.

Παρατηρείστε τόν Πομπήϊον. Ο Μάριος

ο Αιμίλιος Παύλος, ο Αφρικανός Σκιπίων.

Ομοιώματα, όσο πού μπόρεσα, πιστά.

Ο Πάτροκλος (ολίγο θά τόν ξαναγγίξω).

Πλησίον στού μαρμάρου τού κιτρινωπού

εκείνα τά κομάτια, είν’ ο Καισαρίων.

 

Καί τώρα καταγίνομαι από καιρό αρκετό

νά κάμω έναν Ποσειδώνα. Μελετώ

κυρίως γιά τ’ άλογά του, πώς νά πλάσσω αυτά.

Πρέπει ελαφρά έτσι νά γίνουν πού

τά σώματα, τά πόδια των νά δείχνουν φανερά

πού δέν πατούν τήν γή, μόν τρέχουν στά νερά.

 

Μά νά τό έργον μου τό πιό αγαπητό

πού δούλεψα συγκινημένα καί τό πιό προσεκτικά

αυτόν, μιά μέρα τού καλοκαιριού θερμή

πού ο νούς μου ανέβαινε στά ιδανικά

αυτόν εδώ ονειρευόμουν τόν νέο Ερμή.

 

 

 

SCULPTOR OF TYANA

 

 

As you may have heard, I am not a beginner.

Some good quantity of stone goes through my hands.

And in my home country, Tyana, they know me

well; and here the senators have ordered

a number of statues from me.

 

Let me show you

some right now. Have a good look at this Rhea;

venerable, full of forbearance, really ancient.

Look closely at Pompey. Marius,

Aemilius Paulus, the African Scipio.

True resemblances, as true as I could make them,

Patroklos (I’ll have to touch him up a bit).

Close to those pieces

of yellowish marble over there, is Caesarion.

 

And for a while now I have been busy

creating a Poseidon. I carefully study

his horses in particular, how to shape them.

They have to be so light that their bodies,

their legs, show that they don’t touch

the earth, but run over water.

 

But here is my most beloved creation,

that I worked with such feeling and great care

on a warm summer day,

when my mind ascended to the ideals,

I had a dream of him, this young Hermes.

 

 

~ CONSTANTINE CAVAFY — SELECTED POEMS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Ekstasis Editions., Victoria, BC, 2014

George Seferis//Γιώργος Σεφέρης

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ΜΥΘΙΣΤΟΡΗΜΑ ΙΘ’

Κι άν ο αγέρας φυσά δε μας δροσίζει
κι ο ίσκιος μένει στενός κάτω απ’ τα κυπαρίσσια
κι όλο τριγύρω ανήφοροι στα βουνά,

μας βαραίνουν
οι φίλοι που δεν ξέρουν πια πώς να πεθάνουν.

 

MYTHISTOREMA XIX

Although the wind blows it doesn’t freshen us
and the shade is narrow under the cypresses
and all around uphill paths to the mountains;

they weigh heavy on us
the friends who don’t know how to die anymore.

~GEORGE SEFERIS-COLLECTED POEMS, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, Canada, 2012

George Seferis//Γιώργος Σεφέρης

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ΟΙ ΣΥΝΤΡΟΦΟΙ ΣΤΟΝ ΑΔΗ

Νήπιοι, οι κατα βούς Υπερίονος Ηελίοιο
ήσθιον αυτάρ ο τοίσιν οφείλετο νόστιμον ήμαρ
~Οδύσσεια
Αφού μας μέναν παξιμάδια
τί κακοκεφαλιά
να φάμε στην ακρογιαλιά
του Ηλιου τ’ αργά γελάδια
που το καθένα κι ένα κάστρο
για να το πολεμάς
σαράντα χρόνους και να πας
να γίνεις ήρωας κι άστρο
Πεινούσαμε στης γης την πλάτη
σα φάγαμε καλά
πέσαμε εδώ στα χαμηλά
ανίδεοι και χορτάτοι

THE COMRADES IN HADES
…fools who ate the Hyperion Sun’s cattle
for this he deprived them of their return
~Odyssey
Since we still had some hardtack
what a stupidity
to eat by the seashore
Helios’ slow moving cattle
that each was like a castle
you’d had to fight for
forty years until you turned
into a hero and a star
We hungered on the back of earth
but after we ate well
we fell down to the low levels
of being fools but satiated
“George Seferis-Collected Poems” translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2012, ~Finalist at the Greek National Literary Awards, category translation.

 

CONSTANTINE CAVAFY

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CONSTANTINE CAVAFY: a discussion

Constantine P. Cavafy, along with a few other twentieth century Greek poets such as George Seferis, Odysseus Elytis, Yiannis Ritsos, Kostis Palamas and Andreas Kalvos, established the revival of Greek poetry both in Greece and abroad. They emerged as the new era of contemporary Greek poets at a time when the use of the Greek language was swept by the conflict between the old, “καθαρεύουσα—katharevoussa” traditional form of language and the more common “δημοτική—demotiki”, plebian or demotic as it was called.
Cavafy used both the traditional and the demotic modes although mostly the latter; he spent most of his life in Alexandria under the influence of the almighty Greek Orthodox Church and the day before his death he took communion as if to declare that he was ready; as if he was prepared for his transformation, from the modern poet, Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis of Greece to the Cavafy of the World. It is said that in the last minutes of his life he took pencil and paper and drew a big circle with a single dot in the middle.
It had only been twenty years since his death when one of the most famous bookstores in London advertised that: “We carry the best ever books: from Chaucer to Cavafy.” In 1919 Cavafy was introduced to the English reading public by E.M. Forster who helped establish his reputation in the Western World.
His poems combine the precision of a master craftsman with the sensitivity of Sappho as they are concise, yet intimate when their subject is erotic love, mostly between men. Real characters as well as imaginary, historical events as well as fictional are his inspiration; the questionable future, the sensual pleasures, the wandering morality of the many, the psychology of the individual and that of the masses, homosexuality, certain atavistic beliefs and an existential nostalgia are some of his themes. Cavafy’s conscience projected his crystal clear belief in the immortal written word, which he bequeathed unto the four corners of the world.
On the 100th anniversary of his birthday and thirty years after his death, his complete works were published by “Ikaros” in 1963. This edition was prepared up to a point, we could say, by the poet himself who had kept all his poems in a concise and exact order; each poem on a page (which was pinned in exact chronological order on top of the proceeding page); his older poems were turned into booklet form which traditionally consisted of 16 pages although in this case the length is questionable. The sequence of the poems in these booklets was not chronological but thematic and depended on how he chose to emphasize their coherence. These booklets were mailed to anyone who asked for them. In the last years of his life he published two such booklets, one containing his poems written between the years 1905-1915 and the other with his poems of 1916-1918; every poem published during those fourteen years were included in these two booklets.
Cavafy was concise and accurate; so much so that he would work on each of his verses again and again making sure that it was in its final and perfect form before he would mail it to anyone; most of this of course is lost in the translation, as such an element in writing is impossible to replicate in another language. He drew most of his inspiration for the historical poems from the first and second centuries B.C. and the Hellinistic Era of Alexandria around and after the days of Alexander the Great. His love poems were entirely devoted to adult love between men; there is not a single mention of a woman as the subject of erotic love in his poems. The image of the kore, an erotic subject of other poets, is absent from his stanzas. Reference to women in Cavafy’s work is only about older, mature and gracious figures playing out their roles in the Hellinistic era or Byzantium’s golden age.
Cavafy wrote mostly in free verse although there were times when he used rhyme to emphasize irony; the number of syllables per verse varied from ten to seventeen.
Cavafy’s inspiration derives from many different subjects; in one of the well- known poems, Ithaka, he explores, like Odysseus on his return to his home island after the Trojan War, the pleasure and importance of the way to a goal rather than the goal itself, and shows that the process of achieving something is important because of all the experience it makes possible.
In the poem Waiting for the Barbarians we see the importance of the influence that people and events outside of the country may have in the lives of the inhabitants of a certain place and it can quite easily be related to today’s doctrine of “war on terror” after the attack of September, 2001 and the role that fear of the foreigner, or the enemy, plays in the decision making process of a nation. A parallel can be drawn between today’s “war on terror” and the final verses of the poem…
“And what are we to become without the barbarians?
These people were some kind of a solution.”

In the poem Thermopylae Cavafy explores the subject of duty, responsibility, and most importantly, the idea of paying the “debt”; he seems to believe in the philosophical principle of the Universal Balance which exists everywhere, and when that balance is disturbed by the actions of one man another person needs to reestablish it: in this case the poem refers to the treason by Ephialtes which disturbs that preexisting balance and which the leader of the 300 Lacedaimonians, Leonidas, tries to counter—balance by his act of self sacrifice. The crucifixion of Christ has the same philosophical base. Odusseus Elytis refers to the same subject in the Genesis of his Axion Esti (it is worthy) where he says that the Old Wise Creator prepared the four Great Voids on earth and in the body of man:

“…the void of Death for the Upcoming Child
the void of Killing for the Right Judgment
the void of Sacrifice for the Equal Retribution
the void of the Soul for the Responsibility of the Other…”

Isolation and the sense of enclosure unfolds in Cavafy’s poem “Walls” which is relevant to today as some countries tend to resort to it as a means of defense against foreign influences coming from the outside and changing the thinking of the people, but also as a reason for becoming self-sufficient and self-reliant.
There are a lot of satirical connotations and humor in some poems and one such poem stands out: Nero’s Deadline where the poet laughs at the way a person perceives their time on earth. The same subject is referred to by the better known Greek saying: “You like to make God laugh, go and tell Him your plans…”
The extent to which a politician or a system may stretch truth in order to achieve a goal and the axiom “history repeats itself” are adamantly present in Cavafy’s poetry as we see the travesty of events when presented to the public from an official position:
“…the gigantic lie of the palace—Antony triumphed in Greece.”
The lies a government may throw at people in order to deceive. Today’s “…war on terror…” is such a travesty and it resembles an umbrella harboring under it various means and purposes of deluding the populace; at other times this is a means of camouflaging the inability of the governing party to conduct themselves in a fair and balanced way.
Cavafy’s work was at times caustic and irony was used frequently to emphasize a point. Vagenas writes: “Cavafy is the only poet who uses irony as the main mechanism of poetic creativity. His precise dramatic as well as tragic irony is the element that makes his use of the language produce a deep poetic emotion, rendering the verbal sensualism unnecessary.”
Cavafy expresses views of his era looked at through the eyes of the Greek immigrant, or the Greek of the Diaspora. The survival of and adherence to Greek values is what Cavafy cares to preserve and his poetry reflects this by doing justice to his great wish that the Greek language might spread to the far ends of the Bactrian Lands. The heroic stubbornness that proudly said ‘No’ to convention and settling down, the pursuit of true life which carries on ceaselessly, dragging along mud and diamonds, mixing the old with the new, joining the yes with the no, opening new horizons at any moment, birthing new hopes and views at any second is the life Cavafy wanted to spread all over the known world.
Most reviewers and analysts of Cavafy’s work have pronounced him a homosexual although that may be taken with a grain of salt. The western commentaries clearly and as a matter of fact have concluded that he was
homosexual whereas some of the Greek commentators are reluctant to openly agree with that notion; In our view the author can only be classified this or that based on documented data such as pictures, or direct associations of the commentator with the author, and in this case there are no such data available. Yet when a poet writes so many erotic poems having as his subject young men of twenty to twenty nine years old and with not a single woman ever being referred to as a subject of erotic love, it is easy and understandable to assume that the person under discussion is a homosexual; yet there is another angle one may take: the angle of the alter ego that a writer creates in his work to compliment or better yet to refine his image in his own eyes before the eyes of the reading public, as in the case of Cavafy; In some of his personal writings we read:
“I have to put an end to this myself, by the first of April otherwise I won’t be able to travel. I’ll get sick and how am I to enjoy my voyage when I’m sick?”
“March 16th: Midnight. I succumbed again. Despair, despair, despair. There is no hope. Unless I end this by the 15th of April. God help me.”
In another note:
“I am tormented. I got up and I am writing now. What am I to do and
what is going to happen. What am I to do? Help. I am lost.”
In these personal notes of a despairing man who seeks help we see the distress of a person not because they react to their just concluded homosexual encounter but rather their despair in their self-consumed sexual satisfaction through masturbation and the guilt associated with it…Let us not forget that Cavafy grew up in an era of the Diaspora when the Greek Orthodox Church dominated the lives of the populace in such a strict way that any movement outside the dogmatic rules of Christian doctrine was considered a serious and unforgivable sin; I personally remember as a young lad reading the famous booklet “Holy Epistle” with its frightening images of brimstone and fire coming down from the heavens to sear the sinners who would commit any kind of sexual or other sin. It was quite purposefully given to me to read in my early teen years and it took decades before I came to the realization that I didn’t need this nonsense in my life. This was the world Cavafy grew up in and when he had his first chance of being on his own he made his best effort of rebellion against such suppressing doctrine in order to liberate himself from the pangs of church inflicted fear; when one looks at his life from this point of view one can simply see the reaction of a man expressed in a unique way directly opposed to the expected and well formatted way of the church.
Atanasio Cortato, Cavafy’s personal friend and confidant, writes:
“Cavafy’s homosexuality is questionable. One needs to apply a deep
and objective study on his life and perhaps conclude that Cavafy was not homosexual. None ever came along with concrete evidence for this and no scandal of any kind is attributed to him.”
This declaration is of double importance because it is the declaration of Cavafy’s personal friend who knew the poet well and who would have known of any scandal should there have been one in which the poet was involved. Yet there was no such scandal documented or told.
Another view expressed by Stratis Tsirkas and J.M. Hatzifotis was that
Cavafy’s passion was not his homosexuality but rather his alcoholism and his tendency to masturbation. The poet was a very shy person by nature, and although when his mood struck him was a very stimulating and entertaining host, it was impossible for him to proceed into a homosexual relationship. Under this lens his erotic poetry is nothing but his fantasizing of the unrealized…
George Seferis referring to Cavafy as the deceptive old man of the Alexandrian Sea, Proteus, who always changes appearance, says: “For this reason we have to be careful, and exercise caution, not to be seduced by our own tendencies or by taking as given his words and dialectic inventions based on their superficial sense.”
A different aspect of his erotic poems can be found when one sees the time and place in which the poet lived as an adult and on his own. We make this last comment because it is known that Cavafy lived with his mother until her death in 1899 and after that he moved in with his brother John until 1906 when John left for Cairo. At that time Cavafy moved in with his brother Paul until he also moved away to Paris. Then the poet started living on his own. Having to work for a living in such a polyethnic city as Alexandria where the influences of three continents mingled and at times collided and always being under the watchful eye of the all- powerful Greek Orthodox Church with its dogmatism and stubbornness, Cavafy, like any other man of letters, questioned a lot of what was going on around him.
One can easily theorize that all the eroticism and rebelliousness expressed by the young lovers of his poems are nothing but the reactions of a person who lived almost all his adult life with family members and who, in his new found freedom, rebelled against established values and questioned well positioned dogmatism. One can easily theorize that Cavafy fantasized about things he wished for rather than recording things he had experienced. From that point of view the eroticism of his poems can be seen as an expression of suppressed feelings he had for years, yet feelings he never got the courage to act upon.
Cavafy lived in the polyethnic city of Alexandria; he moved and
breathed around the Greek Community and a moral and law abiding way of life is clearly Greek in its essence. The law that applied to Greeks in Alexandria is that of France which is not much different than the Greek law yet different than the law applied to the locals. Therefore the homosexuality and lawlessness of some of his poetry has to do with the moral, communal and law abiding way of life of the Greek Community of Alexandrian society. Cavafy had a good knowledge of that and that knowledge guided him in such a way that his bolder and more daring poems which would have created an uproar in the established code of conduct of Alexandrian Greek Society were only released in 1920 when the poet had become very well-known and had carved a space in the creative society of his era. He was at that time established as a very successful poet and none dared dispute this or accuse him of anything.

~Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Vancouver, BC, 2011

George Seferis//Γιώργος Σεφέρης

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FIRES OF ST JOHN

Our fate, spilled lead, it can’t be altered
you can do nothing about it.
They spilled the lead in the water pitcher under the stars
and let the fires burn.

If you stand naked before the mirror at midnight
you see
you see the man moving through the mirror’s depth
your destined man, who will rule your body
in loneliness and in silence, the man
of loneliness and silence
and let the fires burn.

At the hour when one day ends and the other hasn’t commenced
at the hour when time is stopped
you need to find the man
who now and from the very beginning ruled your body
you must search for him, so that someone else may find him
when you are dead.

It’s the children who light the fires and yell before the fires
in the hot night
(Was there ever a fire not started by a child,
oh, Herostratus)
and they throw salt in the flames to sparkle it
(How strange the houses suddenly stare at us
the crucibles of men, when the gleam of fire
falls on them).

But you who met with the stone’s grace on the sea-whipped rock
the evening when stillness came
you heard from afar the human voice of solitude and silence
in your body
that night of St John
when all the fires went out
and you studied the ashes under the stars.

ΦΩΤΙΕΣ ΤΟΥ ΑΪ ΓΙΑΝΝΗ
Η μοίρα μας, χυμένο μολύβι, δεν μπορεί ν’ αλλάξει
δεν μπορεί να γίνει τίποτε.
Έχυσαν το μολύβι μέσα στο νερό κάτω από τ’ αστέρια κι
ας ανάβουν οι φωτιές.

Αν μείνεις γυμνή μπροστά στον καθρέφτη τα μεσάνυχτα
βλέπεις
βλέπεις τον άνθρωπο να περνά στο βάθος του καθρέφτη
τον άνθρωπο μέσα στη μοίρα σου που κυβερνά
το κορμί σου
μέσα στη μοναξιά και στη σιωπή τον άνθρωπο
της μοναξιάς και της σιωπής
κι ας ανάβουν οι φωτιές.

Την ώρα που τέλειωσε η μέρα και δεν άρχισε η άλλη
την ώρα που κόπηκε ο καιρός
εκείνον που από τώρα και πριν από την αρχή κυβερνούσε
το κορμί σου
πρέπει να τον εύρεις
πρέπει να τον ζητήσεις για να τον εύρει τουλάχιστο
κάποιος άλλος, όταν θα `χεις πεθάνει.

Είναι παιδιά που ανάβουν τις φωτιές και φωνάζουν
μπροστά στις φλόγες μέσα στη ζεστή νύχτα
(Μήπως έγινε ποτές φωτιά που να μην την άναψε
κάποιο παιδί, ώ Ηρόστρατε)
και ρίχνουν αλάτι μέσα τις φλόγες για να πλαταγίσουν
(Πόσο παράξενα μας κοιτάζουν ξαφνικά τα σπίτια
τα χωνευτήρια των ανθρώπων, σαν τα χαϊδέψει κάποια
ανταύγεια).

Μα εσύ που γνώρισες τη χάρη της πέτρας πάνω στο
θαλασσόδαρτο βράχο
το βράδυ που έπεσε η γαλήνη
άκουσες από μακριά την ανθρώπινη φωνή της μοναξιάς
και της σιωπής
μέσα στο κορμί σου
τη νύχτα εκείνη του Αϊ Γιάννη
όταν έσβησαν όλες τις φωτιές
και μελέτησες τη στάχτη κάτω από τ’ αστέρια.
~George Seferis-Collected Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2012

http://www.libroslibertad.ca
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com

2015 books published by Manolis Aligizakis

Manolis
I am very pleased to inform you that during the year 2015 I had 11 books published in 4 different countries and in 4 different languages.
In these books I’m either the poet or the translator, or the author, or my work has been translated/published into a different language/country.
Με ιδιαίτερη χαρά σας ενημερώνω ότι το 2015 είχα 11 βιβλία μου που εκδόθηκαν σε 4 διαφορετικές χώρες και σε 4 διαφορετικές γλώσσες.
Στα βιβλία αυτά είμαι ή ο ποιητής, ή ο συγγραφέας, ή κάποιο μου βιβλίο μεταφράστηκε σε διαφορετική γλώσσα κι εκδόθηκε στην αντίστοιχη χώρα.
Manolis----cover
~OSZI FALEVELEK, poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, translated to Hungarian
   by Karoly Csiby, AB-ART, Gyor, Hungary, 2015
EROTOKRITOS_cover_Mar26.indd
~EROTOKRITOS, by Vitsentzos Kornaros, Transcribed by Manolis
   Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, Jan, 2015. Rare, limited edition of 100 copies,
   collectible book $ 5,000 each, numbered, signed and dedicated to each
   purchase.
svest
~SVEST, poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, translated into Serbian by Jolanka Kovacs, Sziveri, Serbia, 2015
images of absence cover
~IMAGES of ABSENCE, poetry by Manolis, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, 2015, http://www.ekstasiseditions.com
CARESSING MYTHS_cover_Feb10.indd
~CARESSING MYTHS, poetry by Dina Georgantopoulos, translated into English by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2015, http://www.libroslibertad.ca
11414395_1115336121826108_614062975_n

~Άσματα του Παραλόγου, poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, ΕΝΕΚΕΝ, Salonica, Greece, 2015

exo
~ΕΙΚΟΝΕΣ ΑΠΟΥΣΙΑΣ, poetry by Manolis Aligizakis, SAIXPIRIKON, Salonica, Greece, 2015
!cid_8A6047E6-FB09-47C2-B768-B275C2705D38@telus
~HOURS of the STARS, Poetry by Dimitris Liantinis, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2015, http://www.libroslibertad.ca
Hear Me Out_cover_Jun9.indd
~HEAR ME OUT, LETTERS TO MY EX-LOVER, by Tzoutzi Matzourani, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2015, http://www.libroslibertad.ca
A FOGOLY 03
~ A FOGOLY, a novel by Manolis Aligizakis, translated into Hungarian by Karoly Csiby, AB-ART, Slovakia, 2015
Chthonian Bodies_cover_Oct2.indd
~ CHTHONIAN BODIES, paintings by KEN KIRKBY-poetry by MANOLIS, Libros libertad, 2015, http://www.libroslibertad.ca

ODYSSEUS ELYTIS

elyths

AXION ESTI — GENESIS

In the beginning the light And the first hour
when the lips still inside the clay
taste the things of the world
Green blood and golden bulbs in the earth
And most beautiful in its sleep the sea unfolded
ethereal unbleached gauzes
under the carob tree and the tall standing palm trees
There alone
crying grievously
I faced the world

My soul was searching for a Beacon and a Herald

ΑΞΙΟΝ ΕΣΤΙ – Η ΓΕΝΕΣΙΣ

Στην αρχή το φως. Και η ώρα η πρώτη
που τα χείλη ακόμη στον πηλό
δοκιμάζουν τα πράγματα του κόσμου
Αίμα πράσινο και βολβοί στη γη χρυσοί
Πανωραία στον ύπνο της άπλωσε και η θάλασσα
γάζες αιθέρος τις αλεύκαντες
κάτω απ’ τις χαρουπιές και τους μεγάλους όρθιους φοίνικες
Εκεί μόνος αντίκρυσα
τον κόσμο
κλαίγοντας γοερά

Η ψυχή μου ζητούσε Σηματωρό και Κήρυκα
~ Odysseus Elytis, AXION ESTI, translated by Manolis Aligizakis

GEORGE SEFERIS-COLLECTED POEMS//Translated by MANOLIS ALIGIZAKIS

Image

DENIAL

On the secluded seashore
white like a dove
we thirsted at noon;
but the water was brackish.

On the golden sand
we wrote her name;
when the sea breeze blew
the writing vanished.

With what heart, with what spirit
what desire and what passion
we led our life; what a mistake!
so we changed our life.
ΑΡΝΗΣΗ

Στο περιγιάλι το κρυφό
κι άσπρο σαν περιστέρι
διψάσαμε το μεσημέρι
μα το νερό γλυφό.

Πάνω στην άμμο την ξανθή
γράψαμε τ’ όνομά της
ωραία που φύσηξε ο μπάτης
και σβύστηκε η γραφή.

Με τί καρδιά, με τί πνοή,
τί πόθους και τί πάθος
πήραμε τη ζωή μας, λάθος!
Κι αλλάξαμε ζωή.

~George Seferis-Collected Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2012

GEORGE SEFERIS-COLLECTED POEMS

George Seferis_cover

ACTORS

We put up theaters and take them down
wherever we may find ourselves
we put up theaters and set the stage
yet our destiny always wins and

it sweeps them as it sweeps us
the actors and the actors’ director
the prompter and the musicians
scattered to the five hasty wings.

Flesh, mats, woods, make-up
rhymes, emotions, peplos, jewellery
masks, sunsets, wails, and yelling
and exclamations and sun risings

thrown amongst us in disarray
(where are we going? where are you going?)
exposed nerves over our skin
like the stripes of a zebra or an onager

naked and airy, dry and burning
(when were we born? when they buried us?)
and stretched like the strings
of a lyre that always buzzes. Look also

at our hearts; a sponge
dragged on the street and the bazaar
drinking the blood and the bile
of the tetrarch and of the thief

~Middle East, 1943

“George Seferis-Collected Poems”, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros libertad, 2012
Book was short-listed at the National Greek Literary Awards, category translation, the highest Greek poetry recognition.

ΘΕΑΤΡΙΝΟΙ

Στήνουμε θέατρα και τα χαλνούμε
όπου σταθούμε κι όπου βρεθούμε
στήνουμε θέατρα και σκηνικά,
όμως η μοίρα μας πάντα νικά

και τα σαρώνει και μας σαρώνει
και τους θεατρίνους και το θεατρώνη
υποβολέα και μουσικούς
στους πέντε ανέμους τους βιαστικούς.

Σάρκες, λινάτσες, ξύλα, φτιασίδια,
ρίμες, αισθήματα, πέπλα, στολίδια,
μάσκες, λιογέρματα, γόοι και κραυγές
κι επιφωνήματα και χαραυγές

ριγμένα ανάκατα μαζί μ’ εμάς
(πες μου που πάμε; πες μου που πας;)
πάνω απ’ το δέρμα μας γυμνά τα νεύρα
σαν τις λουρίδες ονάγρου ή ζέβρα

γυμνά κι ανάερα, στεγνά στην κάψα
(πότε μας γέννησαν; πότε μας θάψαν;)
και τεντωμένα σαν τις χορδές
μιας λύρας που ολοένα βουίζει. Δες

και την καρδιά μας∙ ένα σφουγγάρι,
στο δρόμο σέρνεται και στο παζάρι
πίνοντας το αίμα και τη χολή
και του τετράρχη και του ληστή.

Μέση Ανατολή, Αύγουστος ’43