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

SUNDAY

It gets dark early. The voice of a child remains, a dry leaf

on the foggy page. Sunday

is the maid that just finished her work; she doesn’t know what

             to do with her hands.

This tired Sunday puts its swollen hands under its apron

and snoozes sitting on the stool and listening to the noise

           of the chimney funnel. Yet a few days ago

it dreamt of a colourful kite with a long tail, being held

by the youngest, most bitter hour of Monday.

The flour-glue dried up in the cup. And the small lamp

resembles the white shell of the egg the sick woman ate

             in her bed.

An orphan star coughs just outside the door. The old-evening

sneezes in front of the basement window. The general’s

statue will freeze in the park under the wrath of the rain

            and the years.

The wind unpins its medals one by one.

A humble sorrow is spread on your face, like the smell

of naphthalene on an old dress of the girl.

Only the harmonica song is heard in the rain

like a black dog forgotten in the desolate garden

and it doesn’t scratch at the door nor it barks, nor

            it leaves.

Let us then open the door to go outside, outside

where the rain and wind will hit our face.

The evening il silenzio is heard from the wooden barracks.

            What time do the soldiers go to sleep?

The trumpet sound settles under the pines

            of the Sanatorium.

The sick men are laid on their beds. They stare at Eros

            behind the shutters of the fever.

They don’t see it. It is far away. Come, then

            light a match

to make sure we have hands. The moss of absence settles

in the overcoats of the soldiers. Do the killed soldiers

           feel cold?

The spiders, he used to say, spin their webs on the ribs

of the dead soldiers. Someone passes holding

            a flashlight.

The crutches of the week are leaning on the fence-wall.

The children search in the garbage bins.

Light a match. I can’t see.

A, yes, happiness is holding a loaf of bread underarm.

In the back pocket of winter the forgotten key

            of the trees rusts.

When time comes. Who’s running? Get away from the window.

They lurk behind the corner — when time comes. They run to

            the doctor in the afternoon.

He wasn’t there. He had died too. Did you notice it?

People have become very tight-lipped

as if they study a song. When time comes.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0851M9LTV

George Seferis – Collected Poems

IX

The harbour is old I can’t wait any longer

neither for the friend who left for the island with the pines

nor for the friend who left for the island with the plane trees

nor for the friend who left for the open sea.

I caress the rusted cannons, I caress the oars

that my body will be reborn and decide.

The sails only give off the smell

of the salinity from another storm.

If I decided to remain alone, I seek

the solitude, not this kind of waiting,

nor the shattering of my soul on the horizon

nor these lines, these colours, this silence.

Stars of the night return me to the anticipation

of Odysseus for the dead among the asphodels.

When we moored over here among the asphodels

           we hoped to find

the glen that saw the wounded Adonis.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B096TTS37J

Neo-Hellene Poets, an Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry, 1750-2018

POEM BY MANOLIS ALIGIZAKIS

OLD COUPLE

Long and narrow rusted table

hardly stands motionless

bleached out tablecloth as though

thrown in debts of river for a long time

cloth faded like her eyes gazing the sea’s

agony that reaches the foreign land

where her son has vanished

shade of grapevine thick like a sin

and harsh like a thought pounding 

her memory that light may be reborn

and he brings two plates

trembling hands pour wine in two glasses

small plate with olives, piece of feta

and the sigh expertly camouflaged by a smile 

the lone cicada that insists to disturb

monologue of their loneliness

finally he sits next to her when

above them the grapevine laughs

as his calloused fingers touch

her wrinkled hand and the sun

somewhere higher than everybody

roars with laughter when the old man says

to her…you forgot to make the salad

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1926763513

Ήταν η ανθρωποθυσία μέρος της ιεροπραξίας των αρχαίων Ελλήνων; (Μέρος Α΄)

ΕΛΛΑΣ

Είναι πέρα από κάθε αμφιβολία ότι ο ελληνικός πολιτισμός ήταν ένα από τα μεγαλύτερα επιτεύγματα στην παγκόσμια ιστορία του ανθρωπίνου πνεύματος. Μια μεστή κοσμοθεωρία, μια ευγενική και μεγαλειώδης πρόταση για τον Άνθρωπο, τόσης μεγάλης εμβελείας και δυναμικότητος, ώστε να καθίσταται ουσιαστική και θεμελιώδης η διάκριση Ελλήνων και μη Ελλήνων (βαρβάρων). Αργότερα, κατά την εποχή των διαδόχων του Αλεξάνδρου, θα χαρακτηριστούν ως «ελληνιστές» όσοι μη Έλληνες μετείχαν της ελληνικής παιδείας. Με αυτήν την νοοτροπία, πέρα από τα στενά όρια των συνόρων και των φυλών, αγκαλιάζοντας τον κάθε ελεύθερα σκεπτόμενο άνθρωπο που επιθυμεί το «κατά φύσιν ζειν, τουτέστι κατ’ αρετήν», πορεύτηκε η ανθρωπότητα και πορεύεται μέχρι και σήμερα. Κατά τους σκοτεινούς αιώνες, το «ελληνίζειν» παραποιήθηκε, λοιδορήθηκε, καταδιώχθηκε, και κατάντησε να σημαίνει ψευδώς το «ειδωλολατρείν».

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Γιώργος Θέμελης: Δενδρόκηπος (VIII)

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

Δενδρόκηπος

VIII

Είναι μια ιστορία που γυρεύει το τέλος.
Την έχουν γράψει τα δάχτυλά μας, ίσως μας σώσουν
Τα δάχτυλά μας, όπως τα πλήχτρα που χτυπούν.

Κάποιοι σα να μιλούν με τα δικά μας λόγια.
Μπορείς ν’ ακούσεις τον ψίθυρο που μιλούσαμε, μπορείς
Να κοιμηθείς ανάμεσα στα ζεστά σώματα που κοιμούνται.

Αναπνέουν στον ύπνο, χαμογελούν.
Ξυπνούν, ανοίγουν το παράθυρο και σκύβουν στο φως,
Μιλούν και βλέπονται πρόσωπο με πρόσωπο.

Καθίζουν μες σ’ ένα κάθισμα και θυμούνται, ίσως μας σώσει
Το κάθισμα, το ποτήρι που πίναμε, είναι η θύμησή μας, ίσως
Μας σώσει η θύμησή μας, δεν έχει κλείσει
Τον κύκλο της, το φωτεινό ταξίδι της, ίσως μας σώσει.
Γυρίζει δρόμους παλιούς κι ακούει τις πέτρες,
Αγγίζει τα πράγματα που αγγίξαμε.

Φοβούνται μονάχοι και κάνουν θόρυβο,
Γυρεύουν ο ένας τον άλλο: πού είσαι… πού είσαι…
Τα σπίτια είναι γεμάτα καθρέφτισμα και φως.

(Μπορεί να ’ναι οι αναπνοές μας που αναπνέουν,
Μπορεί…

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

NEIGHBOURHOOD AFTERNOON

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

           again

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

           resembles

a green kiosk with many colourful magazines hanging

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

           joyously;

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.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0851M9LTV

Titos Patrikios – Selected Poems

TWO MEN

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.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L1TJNNF

Wheat Ears – Selected Poems

Torment

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?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BKHW4B4S

Γιώργος Θέμελης: Δενδρόκηπος (VII, β. Ιντερμέδιο)

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

Δενδρόκηπος

VII

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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Neo-Hellene Poets, an Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry 1750-2018

Poem by Manolis Alagnostakis

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 our days die along with them in a wretched disfiguring

the last schemes of our childhood emotions

and what does the extended hand of people hold?

It knows how to squeeze tightly where logic fools us

when time stops and memory is uprooted 

in a pointless search beyond logic.

(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 we avenge our lives this way

or we spit all the measly resemblances this way

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

something like a vague memory of our lively prehistory?

We’ve 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 call out your name

simple intentions of a secure life, current affairs

boredom, lust, dreams, business dealings, cheating

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

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

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1926763513