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KAZANTZAKIS, Niko


The Odyssey
…..
Snatch prudence from me, God, burst my brows wide, fling far

the trap doors of my mind, let the world breathe awhile.

Ho, workers, peasants, you ant-swarms, carters of grain,

I fling red poppies down, may the world burst in flames!

Maidens, with wild doves fluttering in your soothing breasts,

brave lads, with your black-hilted swords thrust in belts,

no matter how you strive, earth's but a barren tree,

but I, ahoy, with my salt songs shall force the flower!

Fold up your aprons, craftsmen, cast your tools away,

fling off Necessity's firm yoke, for Freedom calls.

Freedom, my lads, is neither wine nor a sweet maid,

not goods stacked in vast cellars, no, nor sons in cradles,

it's but a scornful, lonely song the wind has takenŠ

Come, drink of Lethe's brackish spring to cleanse your minds,

forget your cares, your poisons, your ignoble profits,

and make your hearts as babes, unburdened, pure and light.

O brain, be flowers that nightingales may come to sing!

Old men, howl all you can to bring your white teeth back,

to make your hair crow-black, your youthful wits go wild,

for by our Lady Moon and our Lord Sun, I swear

old age is a false dream and Death but fantasy,

all playthings of the brain and the soul's affectations,

all but a mistral's blast that blows the temples wide;

the dream was lightly dreamt and thus the earth was made;

let's take possession of the earth with song, my lads!

Aye, fellow craftsmen, seize your oars, the Captain comes;

and mothers, give your sweet babes suck to stop their wailing!

Ahoy, cast wretched sorrow out, prick up your ears-

I sing the sufferings and torments of renowned Odysseus!
…..
(Translation Kimon FRIAR)