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Translated from Greek by Manolis

These trees don’t take comfort in less sky
these rocks don’t take comfort under foreigners’
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
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

From ‘Yannis Ritsos – Poems’ by Manolis

View an introduction to Yannis Ritsos in the Foreword to ‘Yannis Ritsos – Poems’ by Manolis.

  1. […] ‘Romiosini’ by Yannis Ritsos in English […]


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