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ELYTIS, Odysseas

A Beautiful and Strange Homeland
"I've never seen a homeland more strange and beautiful

Than this one that fell to my lot

Throws a line to catch fish, catches birds instead

Sets up a boat on land, garden in the waters

Weeps kisses, the ground emigrates

Becomes a pauper, gets brave

Tries for a stone, gives up

Tries to carve it, works miracles

Goes into a boat, reaches the ocean

Looks for revolutions, wants tyrants.

From the poem “I don’t know the night anymore”

I don’t know the night anymore, the frightful anonymity of death;

in my innermost soul there hangs a fleet of stars.

Evening star, guardian, shine beside, in the heavenly

breeze of an island which dreams of me

so I may announce the dawn from its high rocks

with my two eyes in an embrace they sail you with the star

of my right heart: I don’t know the night anymore.

I don’t know anymore the names of a world which rejects me.

Clearly I read the potsherds, the leaves, the stars.

My enmity is needless on the roads of the sky

unless it is my dream which looks at me again

with tears to cross the sea of immortality

Evening star, beneath the curve of your gold fire,

the night which is only night I don’t know anymore.

(translation: Eva Johanos)

Little Nautilus XXVII

It took me a long time to understand what humility means, and it's the fault of those who taught me to place it on the opposite pole of pride. You must tame the Concept of Existence inside you, if you are to understand it.

One day, as I felt everything has abandoned me, and a great sorrow was slowly falling into my soul, while walking in those pastures with no salvation, I pulled a little branch out of an unknown bush. I cut it and brought it to my upper lip. Immediately (as I did this) I understood that Man is Innocent. I decyphered this from the odour, sour from the Truth, so intensely, that it made my steps follow it lightly, with my heart like an Apostle's. Till, very deeply, I became fully conscious of the fact, that all religions are lying.

Yes! Paradise was not a Nostalgia, nor (even more so) a Reward. It was a Right.

Marina of the rocks

A taste of the storm on your lips — but you,

You wandered all day the harsh dream of stone and sea.

The eagle-bearing wind laid bare the hills;

Stripped your desire to the bone:

Your eyes, the chimera’s eyes,

Scoring memory with the spume of the sea.

There, in short September’s waning,

As you played in the red earth you looked down the long bean-rows

To where the other girls, your friends, left armfuls of rosemary.

—But you wandered

All night the harsh dream of stone and sea.

I told you to measure its bright days as you lay

In the naked water: to welcome the dawn of things

Or again to wander yellow plains

Clover-light on your breast, iambic heroine.

A taste of the storm on your lips

And a blood-red robe

Deep in the gold of summer,

The scent of hyacinth — but you wandered

Down to the pebbled shores

The cold salt seaweed

But, deeper, the hurt that bled.

Astonished, you opened your arms, spoke its name,

Gently rising through the clear deep

Where your own star shone.

Listen: words are the wisdom of the old

And time a passionate sculptor of men

And the sun stands above, wild thing of hope

nd you, nearer, cling to a love

With the bitter taste of the storm on your lips.

It is not for you to consider, blue to the bone,

another summer

For the rivers to change their course

And take you back to their mother;

Not for you to kiss, again, other cherry-trees

Nor to ride the North-West Wind

High on the rocks, no yesterday, no tomorrow,

Perilously, on the rocks, combed by the storm,

You will leave at last your enigma.

Translation by Simon Darragh

I lived the beloved name

I lived the beloved name

In the shade of the aged olive tree

In the roaring of the lifelong sea

Those who stoned me live no longer

With their stones I built a fountain

To its brink green girls come

Their lips descend from the dawn

Their hair unwinds far into the future

Swallows come, infants of the wind

They drink, they fly, so that life goes on

The threat of the dream becomes a dream

Pain rounds the good cape

No voice is lost in the breast of the sky

O deathless sea, tell what you are whispering

I reach your morning mouth early

On the peak where your love appears

I see the will of the night spilling stars

The will of the day nipping the earth’s shoots

I saw a thousand wild lilies on the meadows of life

A thousand children in the true wind

Beautiful strong children who breathe out kindness

And know how to gaze at the deep horizons

When music raises the islands

The Monogram

I will always mourn -- do you hear me? -- for you,

alone,in heaven

The Fate will turn away the furrows of

The palm,like the keeper of the keys

Sometime the Time will consent

How else,since people are loved

The sky will represent our entrails

And the innocence will hit the world

With the scythe of the black death


I mourn the sun and I mourn the years that are coming

Without us and I sing the others that passed by

If they're true

Spoken the bodies and the boats that were knocking sweetly

The guitars that blinked under the waters

The "believe me" and the "don't"

Once in the air once in the music

The two small animals,our hands

That seek to get up secretly to each other

The flowerpot with the dew in the open yard gates

And the pieces of the seas that were coming together

Over the stones,behind the fences

The windflower that sat in your hand

And you were shaking three times the purple three times over the falls

If these are true I sing

The wooden girder and the square illusion

In the wall with the Mermaid with the disevelled hair

The cat that looked at us in the dark

Child with the incense and with the red cross

The time that it's getting dark in the approachable of the rocks

I mourn the cloth that I touched and the world came to mt


So I talk about you and me

Because I love you and in the love I know

To enter like a Full Moon

From everywhere,like your little foot in the immense sheets

To pluck jasmines and I have the power

Asleep,to blow to lead you

Through moonlight paths and secret arches of the sea

Hypnotised trees with spiders that we silver plated

The waves have heard of you

How you caress,how you kiss

How you say in whispers the "what" and the "eh"

Around the neck in the bay

Always us the light and the shadow

Always you the little star and always me the dark floater

Always you the harbor and me the right latern

The wet breakwater and the shine upon the oars

High in the house with the vine branches

The tied roses,and the water that gets cold

Always you the stone statue and always I the shadow that grows

The leaning window shutter you,and I the adoration that opens it

Because I love you and I love you

Always you the coin and I the adoration that cashes it:

So the night,so the roar in the wind

So the drop in the air,so the serenity

All around the despotic sea

Chamber of the sky with the stars

So your slightest breath

I have nothing else anymore than

In the four walls,the ceiling,the floor

To cry out from you and my voice to hit me

To smell from you and the people to get angry

Because the untried and the from else brought

The people can't stand it and it's early,do you hear me

It's still early in this world my love



It's still early in this world,do you hear me

The monsters haven't benn tamed,do you hear me

My lost blood and the sharp,do you hear me


Like a ram that runs through the skies

And cracks the branches of the stars,do you hear me

It's me,do you hear me

I love you,do you hear me

I hold you and I take you and I wear to you

The Ophelia's white wedding dress,do you hear me

Where are you leaving me,where are you going and who,do you hear me

He holds your hand above the deluge

The huge retails and the lavas of the volcanos

Will come one day,do you hear me

To bury us after and the thousands of years

They will make us shiny stones,do you hear me

To shine upon them the insensibility,to hear

Of the people

And to throw us thousands of pieces

In the waters one by one, do you hear me

My bitter pebbles I count,do you hear me

And the time is a big church,do you hear me

That sometime the Saints' figures

shed true tears,do you hear me

The bells open high,do you hear me,

One deep passage to cross

The angels are waiting with candles and deadly chants

I'm going nowhere do you hear me

Anyone or the two of us together,do you hear me

This flower of the storm and do you hear me

Of love

We cut it once and forever

And it can't blossom in any other way,do you hear me

In another land,another star,do you hear me

The soil doesn't exist,the air doesn't exist

That we touched,the same,do you hear me

And no gardener fortuned in other times

From so winter and from so north winds,do you hear me

To blossom a flower,only us,do you hear me

In the middle of the sea

And only the errand of the love,do you hear me

We raised a whole island,do you hear me

With caves and with hawsers and with blossomed precipices


Who talks in the waters and who cries-do you listen?

who seeks the other,who is screaming-

do you listen?

It's me who I scream and it's me that I'm crying,do you hear me

I love you,I love you,do you hear me


For you I have talked in old times

With wise nurses and insurgents veterans

From what is it that you have the sorrow of the venison

The reflection on the forehead of the shaking water

And why,it says,to care to come close to you

That I don't want love.but I want the wind

But I want the galloping of the open standing sea

And no one had heard about you

For you neither the dittany nor the mushroom

None inn the high places of Crete

Only for you God accepted to guide my hand

Here,there,everything carefully in the circle

of the coast of the face,the bays,the hair

In the hill waving left

Your body in the position of the lonely pine

Eyes of the pride and of the transparent

Sea bottom,in the home with the old china cabinet

The yellow laces and the cypress wood

Alone waiting to be first seen

High in the roof or back in the flat stones of the yard

With the Saint's horse and the egg of Easter

Like from a destroyed wall painting

As old as the young life wanted you

To fit in the candle the huge volcanic glow

That no one has seen and heard

Nothing in the solitude and the abandoned houses

Neither the buried ancestor side by side in the yard wall

For you neither the old woman with all her herbs

For you,only I,maybe and the music

That I chase of but she comes back stronger

For you the unshaped breast of the twelve years

The turned in the future with a red crate

For you like a pin the bitter smell

That finds in the body and drills the will

And there's the soil,there's the pigeons,there's our ancient land


I have seen many and the land inside my mind seems more beautiful

More beautiful in the golden steams

The sharp stone,more beautiful

The depths of the isthmus and our roofs inside the waves

More beautiful the beams where without stepping you pass by

But unbeaten the godness of Samothrakis over the mountains of the sea

Like this I have looked at you and it's enough for me

All the time to have been acquited

In the small water course that your passing leaves behind

Following like an inexperienced dolphin

And my soul to play with the white and the cyan!

Victory,victory that I've been beaten

Before love and with

For the time and the giul-birshimi

Go,go and let me be lost

Alone and let the sun be that you keep a child new born

Alone,and let me be the country that mourns

Let it be the reason that I sent it to keep you a bay leaf

Alone,the air strong and alone the entirely round Pebble in the blinking of the dark bottom

The fisherman that lifted and threw back in the times the Heaven!


In the Heaven I have spotted an island

Same as you and one house at the sea

With a big bed and a small door

I have threw in the bottomless an echo

To look at myself when I wake up