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

Posted: 30/01/2023 by vequinox in Literature


The Saturday is bitter in the neighbourhood evening when

             the street organ player turns the corner

and some music notes are left in the mud of the road

like the wet wooden shoes along the narrow pathway

             between the migrant shacks.

The hours of the evening are counted by that old watch

we had placed in the chest of the dead woman with her

leftover woolen cloths. At midnight the alarm woke us up

playing its familiar rough music — it was like a child

buried alive who was hitting the sealed casket

with his small hands. When we were children the candles

with the purple ribbons and gold letters scared us a lot;

for this we were so sad when evening came because

the sun-downs, seen from the balcony of our house

in the island, looked like purple ribbons. And we were

afraid of sleep since we felt that someone locked us up and

              we didn’t have keys.

And if they would forget to open for us and if we couldn’t

              talk like the old woman Raken?

However we listened to the adults talking at the dining room

and a ribbon of light from the lamp had fallen under the door.

              Then we weren’t afraid.

Now the mayor, they said,

went to present the keys of the city.

Don’t expect anyone to open anymore. Now you have

to take care of it alone. We have to break down the door.

We’ll manage it, because our love is stronger than

             our loneliness.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s