Archive for 06/03/2023

Yannis Ritsos – Poems, Volume I

Posted: 06/03/2023 by vequinox in Literature

Spring of 1971

The man had long gone to his work The woman
went to the bedroom opened the drawer took
the receipts of water service the power the phone
turned her back to the balcony door “Let them cut them off
all all – she said – let them cut off” as though she didn’t know
they’d already been cut them off
An inflated sun
flooded the big bed The shadow evaporated
on the opposite wall A fly sat on the washstand
with the ashtray the alarm clock the blue ribbon
of the dead child The two well-lit sheets
resembled two blind statues lying down
for a half-hearted morning coupling
“All all” she repeated
and among them “all” (she heard it) was herself as well
speechless calm standing free joined with
all the vanished killed or alive

Constantine P. Cavafy – Poems

Posted: 06/03/2023 by vequinox in Literature


The poet Fernazes composes

an important passage of his epic poem.

How Darius son of Hystaspes took

over the kingdom of Persia. (Our glorious

King Mithridatis, called Dionysus and

Eupator descends from him). But here

he needs philosophy; he must analyze

the feelings Darius must have had:

perhaps arrogance and intoxication; but no—

rather an understanding of the futility of grandeur.

The poet thinks seriously about this issue.

But he is interrupted by his servant who enters

running and announces the bad news.

The war against the Romans has started.

Most of our armies have crossed the border.

The poet is dumbfounded. What a catastrophe!

Because now our glorious king Mithridatis,

called Dionysus and Eupator, won’t care

to occupy himself with Greek poems—

in the midst of war—imagine, Greek poems.

Fernazis is impatient. Bad luck!

Just as he was certain that with “Darius”

he would become famous and he would

be able to shut for good the mouths

of his most envious critics.

What an upset, what a setback up to his plans.

And if it was just the setback, it would still be okay.

But let us see whether we are going to have

security in Amisos. It is not a well-fortified city.

The Romans are the most horrible enemies.

Can we, the Cappadocians get the best

of them? Is this possible?

Can we really fight against the legions now?

Great Gods, protectors of Asia, help us.—

But in all his agitation and distress,

the poetic idea persistently comes and goes—

the most probable, of course, is arrogance and intoxication;

yes, Darius must have felt arrogance and intoxication.