Archive for November, 2014

manolis-2014

 

I’m very pleased to inform you that my poems JUSTIFICATION and AMORPHOUS from the book AUTUMN LEAVES, Ekstasis Editions, 2014, translated into Arabic by Ali Znaidi, were published in the literary magazine Qaba Qaosayan, in Jordan. I extend my deepest appreciation to the translator Ali Znaidi who submitted them.

Two poems by Greek-Canadian poet Emmanuel Aligizakis (Manolis) translated into Arabic by Ali Znaidi appeared in the electronic Arabic cultural newspaper, Qaba Qaosayn (At Two Bow ‘ s Length) (Jordan)

http://www.qabaqaosayn.com/content/%D8%B1%D9%8A%D8%AD-%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%B7%D9%85-%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%B0%D8%AA%D9%83-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B2%D8%B1%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D9%82%D8%B5%D9%8A%D8%AF%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86

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ΕΚ ΠΡΩΤΗΣ όψεως, βέβαια, όλοι φαίνονται απροσδόκητα
ενώ αυτό που φοβόμαστε έχει γίνει από καιρό, κι ήτανε μέσα μας,
κι εμείς το πηγαίναμε στην επικίνδυνη ώρα και συχνά σταματού-
σες στη μέση της σκάλας, γιατί ποιός ξέρει πού είναι το άλλο
σκαλοπάτι, ιδιαίτερα το βράδυ καθώς διάβαινες τις άδειες κάμα-
ρες, σου `πεφτε πάντα κάτι απ’ τα χέρια, σαν να `θελε να ξαναγυ-
ρίσει, και τότε, όπως γονάτιζες να το βρεις, συναντούσες τον
άλλον
αφού κάθε κίνηση μας προδίνει, κι ένα άλλο ποτήρι σηκώνεις
απ’ αυτό που πήγαινες, προτίμησα, λοιπόν, να σωπάσω, μα όταν
μες στο σκοτάδι χτύπησαν μεσάνυχτα, όλο το σπίτι ράγισε άξαφνα,
και τότε, στο βάθος του διαδρόμου, το είδαμε που πέρασε εντελώς
καθαρά.
AT FIRST glance of course everything seem to be unexpected
while what we’ve feared had already taken place and was inside us
and we carried it to the dangerous hour and often you would stop
in the middle of the stairs because, who knows where was the next
step; especially in the night as you walked through the empty rooms
something always fell off your hands as if wanting to return and
then as you’d kneel to find it you would meet the other man
since every gesture gives us up and you carry a different
glass from the one you wanted, I therefore chose to keep silent;
but when in darkness midnight struck suddenly the whole
house shook and then at the end of the hallway we saw him
as he quite clearly walked by us.

~Τάσου Λειβαδίτη-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis

http://www.libroslibertad.ca
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com
http://www.amazon.com
http://www.amazon.kindle.com
http://www.smashwords.com

FOREWORD

The people’s poet in more than one way, Tasos Livaditis stands apart from other poets of his era because of his deep understanding, his heart rendering existential agony, initially expressed as a tender cry filled with compassion within the boundaries of his optimistic realism and on the second phase of his creative career as an introverted search for the meaning of life in the past after the dissolution of his expectations as an artist-fighter for a better future.
The calendar will show October
with the wilted leaves and revolutions

It was October when he said to us farewell. We kept his most recent verses that underscored that message yet not only.

Here I‘ve come to the end. Time to go. As you will also go.
and the ghosts of my life will search for me
running in the night and leaves will shiver and fall.
Autumn comes this way. For this, I say to you,
let us look at life with more compassion, since it was never real.

He never imagined that the ghosts of his life would multiply in such a fast pace soon after his death. The adventure of his vision turned out to become a hardship, the rapid fashion of change in social behaviour and charting even unforeseen by the most suspicious of men truly shifted dramatically in the short nineteen years after his death. Within just one or two years after his death the so called socialistic dream collapsed in an unforgiving way that turned the obviously existent into a fable.

However Livaditis knew deep inside that only the Just Time eventually justifies one. Today the Just Time says about Livaditis that he was one very important poet. He was not at all insignificant although not recognized enough. Because as times passes and values change or shift position the Just Time sets laws and flawless details in the Stock Market of Values.

Tasos Livaditis is one of the last poets who dreamed of a different Greece and gave all he had to turn that dream into reality. He was one of the last who believed in the collective versus the personal even if that collective meant dramatic adventures, not only his exile and persecution but also the adventure of his internal revolution. The person who dreamed of a better world was embittered when he realized the utopia of his vision. Yet he never lost faith in man and although the serious severing that took place in his life scared him he always stood gracefully opposite the descending sun and in that glamour of red dusk he wept alone but with optimism for the future.
Unfortunately his life was cut short and at the age of 66 when he departed leaving a nation to mourn the people’s poet and to reflect and shift their focus toward his vision because the world of the poet is the world of humiliation and exhaustion. It’s the world of bitterness and futility and Tasos Livaditis suffered a lot, was persecuted a lot and pendulated a lot in his life. How else could he write such great poems?

There is a similarity in the life of this man and the life of Yannis Ristsos whom Tasos Livaditis refer to as the teacher. Both men were leftists along with Avgeris, Varnalis, Anagnostakis and others, they were both exiled for their political views, they both left behind a vast bibliography, they both had one daughter and they both went through a poetic shift, a change of focus from writing poetry to serve the cause of the left to writing poetry having in its center the progress, improvement and refinement of the external and internal pleats of man.

In the Introduction of this edition I have added one poem written by Yannis Ritsos and excerpts from reviews written in Greek by friends and close associates of the poet on the twentieth anniversary of Tasos Livaditis’ death. I have translated these excerpts and place them in the order I thought most appropriate. I chose to introduce this great poet to the English speaking world not only with the regular introduction format but also with these comments published by Kedros in 2008, this poet’s exclusive publisher.

The sources of these reviews are referred to in the bibliography of this book.

My heartfelt thank you is extended to Mr. Stelios Petros Halas for granting me his permission to do this translation.

~Manolis Aligizakis

cavafy-by-manolis

ΠΟΛΥΕΛΑΙΟΣ

Σε κάμαρη άδεια και μικρή, τέσσαρες τοίχοι μόνοι
και σκεπασμένοι με ολοπράσινα πανιά,
καίει ένας πολυέλαιος ωραίος και κορόνει,
και μες στη φλόγα του την καθεμιά πυρόνει
μια λάγνη πάθησις, μια λάγνη ορμή.

Μές στην μικρή την κάμαρη, που λάμπει αναμένη
από του πολυελαίου την δυνατή φωτιά,
διόλου συνειθισμένο φως δεν είν’ αυτό που βγαίνει.
Γι’ άτολμα σώματα δεν είναι καμωμένη
αυτής της ζέστης η ηδονή.

CHANDELIER

In a small, empty room, just four walls
covered by solid green pieces of cloth,
a beautiful chandelier burns and blazes;
and in each one of its flames kindles
a lascivious passion, a sensual fever.

In the small room, shining brightly
from the chandelier’s strong flame,
a light that is not at all ordinary.
The rapture of its warmth
is not made for timid bodies.

Κ.Π Καβάφη — C.P. Cavafy-Poems
Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη-Translated by Manolis Aligizakis
http://www.libroslibertad.ca, 2008
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com

!cid_178308138DCA4B20A98C2CCBFAB16FA0@userHP

ΚΥΚΝΟΣ

Ξεχαστήκαμε σ’ ἐκκλησιές ἀλειτούργητες
ἀπό τοῦ Λεονάρντο τά χρόνια.
Κρεμάσαμε στόν τοῖχο
τήν ἔμορφη πατρόνα τοῦ ρέμπελου
εἰκόνισμα μιᾶς ἀρχέγονης νιότης.
Σε λίμνες
σφηνωμένες στά γένια τῶν βράχων
εἴδαμε τήν ὄψη μας ξένη
νά σκιάζεται τό χαλικισμό τῶν ἀετῶν.
Αὐτό πού ἱστορήσαμε δέν ἦταν δικό μας.
Τούς τζοχανταραίους τῶν πρίνων
στά χαρακώματα κόκκινων λόφων
νά συντρίβουν τό δόρυ τοῦ χειμῶνα.
Τό χορό τῆς πρωίας
πού κρύφτηκε στά σπλάχνα τῆς ὀξυᾶς
καί στή συνοφρύωση τῆς ἀκίνητης πέτρας.
Ὁ δικός μας ἀγώνας
ὁ δικός μας καημός
θάφτηκε στήν ἄκρουγη κόρδα μιᾶς λύρας
πού σάν τήν ἀγγίξεις θά σπάσει.

SWAN

We lost ourselves in unconsecrated churches
since the days of Leonardo.
On the wall we hanged
the beautiful woman of the loiterer
icon of an ancient youth.
In lakes
wedged between the beard of rocks
we saw our strange features
afraid of the thunderous flapping of eagle wings.
What we recounted wasn’t ours.
Coppers of the holy oak
in the trenches of red hills
that shatter the lance of winter.
Morning dance
that hid in the viscera of the oak
and in the frowning of the motionless stone.
Our struggle
our grief
buried in the unstruck chord of a lyre
that will brake on your touch.

~Δημήτρη Λιαντίνη-Οι Ώρες των Άστρων/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Dimitris Liantinis-Hour of the Stars/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis

From the book “AUTUMN LEAVES” my poem “JUSTIFICATION” presented today by Leaf Press in their forum Monday’s Poem

http://www.leafpress.ca

manolis' pic

 

autumn leaves cover

Justification

I strode over
fallen branches
victims of last night’s
merciless wind
listened to music in tune
with endless perfection
then the chirp of the bird
raised my head
saw it, a chickadee
on the tree limb

justification
this day
alive that I was

ubermensch_cover

 

Ομοιότητες

Παρ’ όλο που απ’ τη μέρα που τον συναντήσαμε
κάτι απρόσμενο συνέβαινε σχεδόν καθημερινά
η φήμη υποσχέθηκε πως δεν θα μας προσπερνούσε
κι εμείς τίποτε άλλο δεν ζητήσαμε παρά περιστασιακά
να βγάζουμε απ’ τον ασκό του χάους έν’ ανθισμένο
τραντάφυλλο ή το αιώνιο εκείνο χαμογέλιο
του ερωτευμένου νέου ενώ εκείνος στάθηκε
καθηλωμένος στο νεκρό κορμί του σχοινοβάτη
που άφησε πίσω του θαυμάσια κληρονομιά πολλοί
που ζήλευαν μα που δεν είχαν θάρρος για χάρη της
να πολεμήσουν.
Κι ακόμα περισσότερο όταν ο γελωτοποιός ήταν
πιο αξιόλογος απ’ τον υπουργό κι ο νεκροθάφτης
απ’ το φοροσυλλέκτη. Σε τελική ανάλυση κι οι δυο
με τα πρόσκαιρα ασχολούνταν.
Similarities

Although something new would almost daily
occur since the hour we’ve met Him, fame had promised
not to ignore us and we didn’t ask for anything else
but to occasionally pull out of the bag of chaos
the bloomed rose or the perennial smile of
the young lover while He stood transfixed on
the dead body of the rope walker who left behind
a splendid legacy most people would love to have
yet never had the courage to fight for.
Even more so when the jester was more important
than the minister and the undertaker more valuable
than the tax collector. After all they all specialized
on the ephemeral.

UBERMENSCH/ΥΠΕΡΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΣ, Ekstasis Editions, 2013
http://www.ekstasiseditions.com
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com

gemma

 

ΤΑ ΚΑΤΑ ΚΙΡΚΗΝ

Ο Όμηρος είναι ή για τα μικρά παιδιά ή για τους πολύ γέροντες. Θα τον ακούσεις να παραμυθολογεί και θα σε δέσουν τα λόγια του, όπως σε δένουν μαύρα μάτια ή γαλανά, όταν δεν ξέρεις σχεδόν τίποτα ή όταν τα ξέρεις σχεδόν όλα.
Έλα να ιδούμε, λοιπόν, κάτω απ’ αυτή τη διπλή οπτική του μικροσκοπίου και του τηλεσκοπίου τί λέει στην ιστορία της Κίρκης.
Το καράβι του Οδυσσέα με τους συντρόφους πλέει στα νερά, και βιγλίζει μακρυά τους ορίζοντες. Ξαφνικά φαίνεται στο ραντάρ του νησί. Πλησιάζουν γλαυκοπετώντας και λάμνοντας και το νησί μεγαλώνει. Μεγαλώνει, ωσότου παίρνει το θώρι μιας ωραίας εξωτικής παραλίας.
—Τραβάτε και ιδέστε, τί είναι εκεί, λέει ο Οδυσσέας στους ναύτες. Γιομίστε τα τουλούμια με νερό. Πάρτε και φλασκιά κρασί, εάν βρείτε. Φέρτε και παξιμάδια, ανανάδες, καρύδες και ό,τι άλλο πετύχετε φαγώσιμο για το ταξίδι. Κι ελάτε να τραβήξουμε για τη μακρυνή Ιθάκη. Άειντε, και κάμετε σύντομα.
Οι σύντροφοι βαρκαρίζουνται στο νησί, κι ο βασιλιάς μένει επάνω στο καράβι φύλακας, συντηρητής, οικονόμος, και τεχνικός διαχειριστής.
Οι σύντροφοι προχωρούνε, ακροαστικά και ανιχνεύοντας, φτάνουν μπροστά σ’ ένα παλάτι, και βλέπουν μια μάγισσα. Η Κίρκη είναι αυτή. Την πλησιάζουνε άφοβα, κι εκείνη τους ρωτάει το ποιος και το πώς, το γιατί και για πού. Ακούει και μαθαίνει.
Ύστερα τους κοιτάει γλαρωτικά, σηκώνει μια ξαφνική βεργούλα, αγγίζει απάλαφρα τους συντρόφους στον ώμο και στον τράχηλο, κι αμέσως οι σύντροφοι γίνουνται χοίροι. Ένα γραμμόφωνο πιο πέρα παίζει κάποιο σημαδιακό ρεμπέτικο:
Τα δυο σου χέρια πήρανε βεργούλες και με δείρανε.
Οι σύντροφοι σκορπίζονται δυο δυο, τρεις τρεις στην πρασινάδα καις τις βραγιές του κήπου, και αναματιάζουνται σαστισμένοι. Ύστερα, μ’ ένα τρελό χοροπηδητό, αρχίζουνε να τρέχουν, να στέκουνται, να πηδάνε, και να γρυλλίζουν. Θέαμα ευτυχισμένο παραδείσου.
Λουτσάνε και στα νερά, κι όπου βρούνε λάσπη πάνε και χώνουν το μουσούδι τους, και κυλιούνται πανεύτυχα. Τα τρελαίνει η λάσπη τα γουρούνια, που λέει ο Δημόκριτος.
Σύες ἐπὶ φορυτῷ μαργαίνουσι.
Ο Οδυσσέας περιμένει στο καράβι τους συντρόφους, αλλά οι σύντροφοι δεν έρχουνται. Μία, δύο, πέντε, δέκα ημέρες. Αδημονεί, συγχύζεται, κακοβάλνει. Ξεκινάει να πάει ο ίδιος στο νησί. Και πηγαίνει και βλέπει. Και βλέπει και θιαμάζεται. Και θιαμάζεται και δεν πιστεύει.
—Στο καλό μου, Ποσειδώνα! Φωνάζει. Τί μου `στειλες πάλι!
Τότε αντικρύζει και τη μάγισσα. Τα μάτια της είναι σκοτεινά της αστραπής, Σε μαρμαρώνουν. Ένα ρίγος νιώθει να κυλάει στη ράχη του, και ξαφνικά καταλαβαίνει. Δια μιας συλλαβαίνει ολόκληρη την κατάσταση. Εποπτικά και ακαριαία, που λένε οι ψυχολόγοι της ενορατικής μάθησης. Ξιφουλκεί τότε, το μάτι του άγριο, καις σκούζει στη μάγισσα.
—Πίσω άτιμη, και σ’ έφαγα. Τη Μπαναγία σου μέσα. Κάνε γρήγορα τους συντρόφους μου ανθρώπους! Γιατί σου παίρνω το κεφάλι με το σπαθί, όπως ο Περσέας τη Γοργόνα. Και δεν έχω και καθρέφτη.
Η Κίρκη πανικοβάλλεται, ξεφωνίζει αχ, ζαρώνει να αφανιστεί. Σηκώνει το μαγικό ραβδάκι, αγγίζει πάλι τους συντρόφους. Ένας-ένας αρχίζει να αναδύεται μέσα από το θαμπό βάθος του κόσμου των ζώων. Αγάλι-αγάλι τα γουρούνια παίρνουν ν’ αλλάζουν σουσούμια, μεταμορφώνουνται, ξαναγίνουνται άνθρωποι.
Ο βασιλιάς διατάζει τους ναύτες να στοιχηθούν τριάδες, πάντα με το σπαθί στο χέρι. Κοιτάει τη μάγισσα και η ματιά του έχει μεγάλη εξάντληση. Ψιθυριστά σχεδόν της λέει
—Καημένη μου, σπολλάτη σου. Που δε σε κόβω λιανά λιανά με το γεντέκι, να σε ρίξω να σε φάνε τα ψαράκια της πισίνας σου. Κι είσαι και γυναίκα.
Είπε και γυρίζει στους συντρόφους του, και τους δίνει το παράγγελμα: – Άντρες! Εμπρός μαρς! Ένα δύο, εν δυο! Παίρνει τους στρατιώτες του και ξεμακραίνει κατά το καράβι.

Αυτή είναι η ιστορία της Κίρκης. Και κάπως έτσι θα την διδάξουμε στους μαθητές μας οι δάσκαλοι. Στα παιδιά των δεκατριών χρονών.
Θα καρυκέψουμε και λίγο το μάθημα με μια πρόχειρη γαρνιτούρα. Γραμματική, λίγη σύνταξη, λέξεις, εικόνες, στοιχεία εποχής, διαγραφή χαρακτήρων και τα συναφή. Πάει καλά. Ένας μαθητής μικρός, μικρούτσικος, δοκιμάζει να ξηλώσει στην άκρη το στερεό ύφασμα που ύφανε ο αργαλειός της τάξης.
—Μα καλά, κυρ δάσκαλε, αυτός είν’ ο Όμηρος; Ένα τέτοιο παραμύθι θα μπορούσε κι η γιαγιά μου να το πλάσει. Για να μας νανουρίζει τις νύχτες με το φεγγάρι. Λίγο αλαφροΐσκιωτη να ` τανε, λίγο νεραΐδοπαρμένη, και φτάνει. Αυτός είν’ ο Όμηρος;
Αυτός είν’ ο Όμηρος; ερωτάμε κι εμείς με τη σειρά μας. Ο πατέρας των ποιητών; Όπως έλεγε κι ο ίδιος για το Δία, ο πατέρας των θεών. Ο Όμηρος, στους Έλληνες ο πρώτος, η πύλη του πολιτισμού της Ευρώπης, η ακένωτη πηγή τη σοφίας;
—Οι τραγωδίες μου είναι ψίχουλα από την πλούσια τράπεζα του Ομήρου, έλεγε ο Αισχύλος. Κι ένας ζωγράφος, ο Γαλάτων, εζωγράφισε ένα συμπόσιο σε πολυτελή αίθουσα. Έβαλε γύρω-τριγύρω όλους τους μεγάλους Έλληνες συγγραφείς, και στη μέση ο Όμηρος. Ανοίγει το στόμα του καθώς τερρακόττα, και κάνει εμετούς. Και οι άλλοι τρώνε εν χορώ τα ‘εμημεσμένα’.
Τριάντα αιώνες τώρα τον μελετάμε. Τον διδάσκουμε, τον σπουδάζουμε,, τον εξηγάμε, τον σχολιάζουμε, και στην άκρη του δεν εφθάσαμε. Κι ούτε θέλει να φτάσουμε ποτές. Αυτός λοιπόν είν’ ο Όμηρος; Ένας ανοϊκός γεροντάκος; Σε καλό μας δηλαδή.
Ο μαθητής με τα έξυπνα μάτια έχει δίκιο. Μας προκαλεί. Να αποβάλουμε τη σύνδρομη αφέλεια που, χωρίς οι ίδιοι να το νιώθουμε, κατεβάζει το δάσκαλο στην ηλικία του μαθητή. Ο μαθητής μας προκαλεί να ιστορήσουμε αλλοιώτικα την ιστορία. Όχι πια για τα παιδιά, αλλά για τους γερόντους. Κάπως έτσι.

CORCERNING CIRCE

Ihr Fröhlichen am Isthmos, und am Cephyss
und am Taygetos

~Hölderlin

Homer’s stories are either for the very young or the very old. You can hear him weave his elaborate tales and his words may bind you, like furtive looks by eyes of black or blue can captivate, when you know next to nothing or when you know almost all there is to know.
Come then and let us see, under the dual optical perspectives of the microscope and the telescope, what the story of Circe may yet reveal.
The ship of Ulysses and his companions sails upon the azure waters surveying the distant horizons. Unexpectedly, the form of an island begins to emerge. They steer and row through the blue-white expanse towards an ever-clearer vision of the island. Eventually, the vista of a magnificent and exotic shoreline reveals itself.
—“Go and have a look around”, Ulysses says to the sailors. “Fill the flasks with fresh water. See whether you can find some wine as well. Return with bread, pineapples and coconuts, whatever you can find that’s edible so we can replenish our supplies for the voyage onward. And tarry not, so we may soon set sail again for distant Ithaca.”
A small boat ferries a handful of the companions over to the island, yet the king remains on board as a guard, conservator, housekeeper and technical director.
The companions wander deeper into the island, always scouting and exploring, and chance upon a palace. At its doorstep, they encounter an enchantress. This is Circe. They approach her without reservations and she asks to know the who, the how, the what, the whence and the wherefore. She listens and she learns.
Then she looks at them mirthfully, raises an inconspicuous wand, and deftly touches the companions on their shoulders and necks. In an instant, the companions turn into swine.
They scatter in groups of two or three, in the lush palace gardens and nearby pastures, staring at each other in confusion. After a while they begin trotting about restlessly; they scamper and gyrate, then stand still with ears poised, sniffing at the wind and grunting at the grass. A captivating vision of blissfulness.
They throw themselves in puddles and playfully stir up the mud with their snouts. Muddy waters can drive swine mad, as Democritus asserts.
Σύες ἐπὶ φορυτῷ μαργαίνουσι.
Pigs revel in mud.
Meanwhile, Ulysses patiently waits for the companions aboard the ship; but they are nowhere to be seen. One, two, five, ten days come and go. He is now worried, unsettled, and his mind starts contemplating worst-case scenarios. Soon, his patience is exhausted; he sets out for the island to see for himself. And when he does, he stands in shock and cannot believe his eyes.
—“Merciless Poseidon!” he cries. “What adventures have you tangled me in again? ”
Then he encounters the enchantress. Her eyes possess the darkness of lightning. They petrify you. His spine tingles, he shudders and then he suddenly understands. At one fell swoop, he grasps the entire situation. Decisively and immediately, as the learned insightful psychologists might put it. His stern, fiery gaze engulfs the witch and he issues his warning:
—“Fall back, wench, or face my wrath. Despicable creature! Turn my companions back into men forthwith! Or, gods help me, I will draw my sword and sever your head from your shoulders, as Perseus did with Medusa. Even though I carry no mirror.”
The scolded Circe panics and withdraws. She lifts her magic wand again and touches the companions. One by one they resurface from the dull depths of the world of the animals. Slowly but steadily, the ugly snouts transform back into human faces and the companions become men again.
The king orders his sailors to form ordered lines in threes, sword in hand. He turns towards the witch and in his eyes can be perceived a great weariness. In what is almost a whisper, he tells her
— “Consider yourself lucky that I didn’t slice you into a thousand pieces and throw you into the sea to be eaten by the fish. Even though you are a woman.”
Having said that, he looks at the companions and issues the marching orders:
— “Men, on my mark…”
And they march back toward their ship leaving Circe’s palace behind.

This is the story of Circe, in brief. And along those lines will we teachers teach it to our students. To kids in their teens.
We might even embellish the lesson with a bit of garnish. Perhaps say a few things about the grammar and syntax, the words and images used, some historical information about that era, the character development in the story and so on and so forth. All well and good.
Yet a young student, too small for his age and at the back of the class, attempts to pull at the loose thread in the corner of the carefully constructed tapestry that the loom of the class has conscientiously weaved.
— “But, sir, is that really Homer? My grandmother can tell better stories. At nights when the moon is full, she tells them before we go to bed. All it takes is a bit of imagination. Is that all there is to Homer?”
Is that all there is to Homer, we have to ask as well. Is that all there is to the father of poets? A title he himself reserved for referring to Zeus, the father of gods. Homer, first among the Greeks, the gateway of the civilization of Europe, an endless source of wisdom?
Aeschylus considered his tragedies as mere crumbs from Homer’s rich banquet table. And an ancient painter, Galaton of Alexandria, painted a symposium in a lavish hall. He placed the greatest Greek writers of the time all sitting expectantly around Homer. Homer is depicted vomiting and the rest are consuming in chorus what has been “predigested”.
For thirty centuries now we have been studying him. We have been teaching him, reading him, explaining him, writing long essays about him and still there is no end in sight. And perhaps there won’t be. So is this really Homer? A dull old man? Is that all there is to him?
But perhaps the young student with the clever eyes is right. He has challenged us. So let us get rid of this syndrome of naiveté, which, even though we may not immediately suspect it, lulls us teachers into teaching on the same age level as the students. This student is challenging us to
tell the story differently. Not the story for the teenagers, but the story for the old people. And it goes like this…

~Μετάφραση Γιάννη Τσάπρα

~Translation by Yannis Tsapras

Idolaters_cover_Jul2.indd

“It was a Dream”
First was the heat, then the damn dream that found
him this dawn talking to himself; sweaty he walked down the
stairs looking around, his nose like a hound, as if some bad omen
lurked in the corners of the room. He rushed to the garden. Soon
it’ll be daylight soon! He thought, taking courage in the doubtful
projection. The lights shone at the far end of the sea on the opposite
shore. Everything was undisturbed, the island, the lighthouse
with its signals, the little moon, the far away songs of the drunks.
He threw himself on a chair and recalled the dream that filled him
with agony.
He was a tailor — in fact he is a tailor, a very talented one.
Though it was like a dream where he worked, a shadow approached
and froze him to death. An old man in rags, with a toothless
smile looked at him: “sew me something, young man, I’m about to
travel!” Hairs floated over his shiny head. He took out of his coat
something rectangular and showed it to the tailor. It was a bar of
gold. “Young man, I have no time to spare, I’m about to travel” he
yelled in his ear.
“The way you look, the only place left for you is the other world.”
“That’s what I mean”, the old man agreed.
“Damn you, you want me to sew you a shroud?” The tailor was
startled.
The horrible image took a step and sat opposite him: “a long
shroud with deep pockets to put in them all my treasures! I’ve
lived a miserable life. I have turned all I amassed into this: gold!
This life is too short” he stretched his bony finger showing
upward, “the other is more important. I want to take it all with
me and I want you to sew me a shroud with deep pockets.” He
widened his soulless eyes. “Hurry, otherwise I’ll take you with
me…”
The tailor felt a chill and his chest got heavy. He wanted to cry
out but his voice wasn’t there. With eyes glued to the out of this
world eyes of the old man he managed to at last wake up in the
condition we found him earlier.

 

~Book can be purchased at http://www.libroslibertad.ca

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