Archive for the ‘Libros Libertad’ Category

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TWILIGHT

We are captives of the inexplicable and of the forever lost
and remorse is the only way to return to the innocence
of youth —
oh, my old departed friend, I know I’ll meet you again in
a dream or suddenly in the street when all is lost
women who we loved while outside the windows the rain
intensified
then holding hands we passed the bridge, your wet hair
shone in the sundown —
who could believe it, really, that it was a time when we would
even give our lives
with that unstoppable fever like the sick children who
when the get well they don’t fit in their childhood cloths
and they are mocked in school — and they fill their
notebooks with poems
so that they won’t be lost. And then adulthood comes like
a shipwreck.

Oh, twilight, hour of justice, you pay attention to the most
humble things before nightfall.
ΩΡΑ ΤΟΥ ΛΥΚΟΦΩΤΟΣ

Είμαστε αιχμάλωτοι του ανεξήγητου και του αιώνια χαμένου
κι η τύψη είναι ο μόνος τρόπος να ξαναγυρίσουμε στην παιδική
αγνότητα —
ώ παλιέ φίλε που έφυγες, ξέρω ότι θα σε συναντήσω σε κάποιο
όνειρο ή άξαφνα στο δρόμο όταν όλα θα ` χουν χαθεί,
γυναίκες που αγαπήσαμε ενώ έξω απ’ τα παράθυρα δυνάμωνε
η βροχή
κι ύστερα πιασμένοι απ’ το χέρι περάσαμε τη γέφυρα, με τα μαλ-
λιά σας βρεγμένα να λαμπυρίζουν στο ηλιοβασίλεμα —
ποιος θα το πίστευε αλήθεια πως υπήρξε ένας καιρός που δίναμε
τη ζωή μας
μ’ εκείνον τον αδιάκοπο πυρετό σαν τ’ άρρωστα παιδιά που όταν
αναρρώσουν δεν τους χωράνε τα παιδικά τους ρούχα
και στο σχολειό τα κοροιδεύουν — και γεμίζουν τα τετράδιά τους
με ποιήματα
για να μη χαθούν. Κι ύστερα έρχεται η ενηλικίωση σαν ένα ναυά-
γιο.

Ώ λυκόφως, δίκαιη ώρα, που και στα πιο ταπεινά πράγματα
δίνεις μια σημασία πριν έρθει η νύχτα.

~Tasos Livaditis-Poems, translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad.ca, 2014
http://www.libroslibertad.ca

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Fate of the Seed

It’s the seed’s fate
what earth it falls on
but sprout it must
and sprouting, to wither

or flourish into green leaf
only the earth will know

or the woman who is watering the earth
seeing the journey of the Seed into plant
plant into flower
and the flower up into her tresses.
Η μοίρα του σπόρου

Απ’ τη μοίρα του σπόρου εξαρτάται
σε τί χώμα θα πέσει
μα να φυτρώσει πρέπει
κι αφού φυτρώσει να μαραθεί

ή να ευδοκιμίσει σαν πράσινο φύλλο
μόνον η γη το γνωρίζει

κι η γυναίκα που ποτίζει το χώμα
και ξέρει την πορεία απ’ το σπόρο στο φυτό
απ’ το φυτό στο λουλούδι
και το λουλούδι στο βόστρυχό της

Perfect Dialogue

Nothing is perfect
so there will be questions,
ever, he said.

Perfection is courage, she said.
If you accept it’s perfect, it is.
Even the crack in my heart
has followed a perfect path
leaving undisturbed
the quarks
spinning with all their degrees of freedom
in my genetic solitudes.

ΤΕΤΕΙΟΣ ΔΙΑΛΟΓΟΣ

Τίποτα δεν είναι τέλειο
και πάντα θα υπάρχουν ερωτήσεις
είπε

Τέλειο είναι το κουράγιο, είπε εκείνη.
Αν το αποδεχτείς ως τέλειο, τότε είναι.
Ακόμα και το ράγισμα στην καρδιά μου
έχει ακολουθήσει ένα τέλειο μονοπάτι
κι άφησε ατάραχα
τα κουάρκς
να περιφέρονται μες στην ελευθερία τους
και στη γεννητική μου μοναξιά

~Poetry by Ajmer Rode, translated into Hellenic by Manolis Aligizakis

 

ΤΟ ΑΓΝΩΣΤΟ

Ήξερε τί παράσταιναν οι διαδοχικές του μεταμφιέσεις
(συχνά κι αυτές αναχρονιστικές και πάντα αόριστες)
τον ξιφομάχο, τον κήρυκα, τον ιερέα, τον σκοινοβάτη,
τον ήρωα, το θύμα, τον νεκρό, την Ιφιγένεια. Δεν ήξερε
εκείνον που μεταμφιεζόταν. Τα πολύχρωμα κοστούμια του
σωρός στο πάτωμα, καλύπτοντας την τρύπα του πατώματος,
και στην κορφή του σωρού το λαξευμένο, χρυσό προσωπείο,
και μες στο κούφωμα του προσωπείου το αχρησιμοποίητο πιστόλι.

THE UNKNOWN

He knew what his successive disguises stood for
(even them often out of time and always vague)
a fencer, a herald, a priest, a rope walker,
a hero, a victim, a dead, Iphigenia. He didn’t know
the one he disguised himself as. His colorful costumes
pile on the floor, covering the hole of the floor,
and on top of the pile the carved golden mask,
and in the cavity of the mask the unfired pistol.
ΤΟ ΑΔΙΕΞΟΔΟ

Με το φθινόπωρο ακούσαμε ξανά κάτω απ’ τις καμάρες
το κέρας των αρχαίων κυνηγών. Ο ραβδοσκόπος καθόταν στην
πόρτα.
Μπροστά στο Διοικητήριο έκαιγαν τους χαρταητούς. Λίγο πιο πέρα,
μονάχο το άγαλμα, γυμνό, τρέμοντας όλο πάνω στο βάθρο του,
(αυτό που τόσα είχα τραβήξει ώσπου να γίνει άγαλμα), αυτό,
ολότελα πια λησμονημένο, μελετούσε κρυφά, μέσα στην πέτρα,
ένα καινούργιο, εκπληχτικό διασκελισμό, που να επισύρει
την προσοχή των κυνηγών, του κρεοπώλη, του φούρναρη, της χήρας,
διαψεύδοντας ό,τι περσότερο είχε ονειρευτεί: την άσπιλη εκείνη,
την ένδοξή του, τη μαρμάρινη, την αναπαυτικά εσταυρωμένη ακι-
νησία.
DEAD END

In the fall we heard the ancient hunters’ horns
blare under the arches. The dowser
sat by the door.
In front of Government House they burned kites. Farther on
the statue was alone, naked, completely shivering on its pedestal,
(the one that had endured so much to become a statue),
now, totally forgotten, secretly contemplating in the rock
of a new amazing straddle, that would draw
the hunters’ attention, the butcher’s, the baker’s, the widow’s,
disproving what it had dreamed the most: its unblemished,
its glorified the made-of-marble comfortably crucified
motionlessness.

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ΓΙΟΡΤΗ

Καμιά φορά αναρωτιέμαι γιατί τα γράφω όλα αυτά, κι αν θα
παρηγορήσουν ποτέ κανέναν, προτιμούσα, λοιπόν, να μένω γονα-
τιστός (ήταν το δικό μου σπίτι) όμως, γρήγορα έχανα τον ειρμό με
τον ίσκιο εκείνων των μεγάλων φτερών πάνω στον τοίχο, ενώ
ήμουν ολομόναχος στην κάμαρα, έτρεχα τότε στο απάνω πάτωμα,
ψάχνοντας, κι ύστερα πιο πάνω, ως πέρα τους εξώστες. Ώσπου
όταν ξανακατέβαινα είχε τελειώσει η γιορτή.
Άνοιγα τότε την πόρτα και κοίταζα ήρεμος τη νύχτα, επειδή
τίποτα δεν άλλαζε, κι ο καθένας ζει με τον τρόπο του την αιώνια
παραπλάνηση.

CELEBRATION

Sometimes I question myself why do I write all these and if
they’ll ever console someone therefore I preferred to kneel (this
was my own house) however I could lose my composure with
those shadows of feathers on the wall while I was all alone in
the room; then I would run to the upper floor searching, even
higher to the balcony. Until when I would come back down
the celebration was over.
Then I opened the door and I, serene, looked into the night
because nothing had changed and everyone lived the infinite
deception in their own way.

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

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elyths220px-Giorgos_Seferis_1963

Reviving Greek Poetry: Giorgios Seferis and Odysseas Elytis

Modern Greek literature is constrained by the greatness of its forebears, as the classical works of Antiquity constitute the pinnacle of canonical greatness. However, as Helena Cuss explains, two twentieth century writers, Giorgios Seferis and Odysseas Elytis, managed to bring new life to Greek poetry, for which they were both awarded the Nobel Prize.
Most readers of classic literature would claim to be well-versed in the great works of Greek literature: The Odyssey and The Illiad from Homer, works of the great philosophers Socrates, Aristotle and Plato and the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles , and Euripides. These men all belong to a hazy golden age in our imaginations commonly thought of as ‘antiquity’. However, since then, Greek literature has ceased to be a conspicuous presence in the canon of Western literature with which we are all so familiar. The past 500 years or so have seen a flowering of English, American, French, German and Italian literature which have become the great ‘classics’. During the twentieth century burst of Modernism these nations in particular produced the most famed avant-garde thinkers, writers and artists, who shaped the culture we live and breathe today. What may be less well known to most is that in this whirling milieu of radicalism, under the pressure of political turbulence and European instability, two Greek poets were bringing the ancient traditions of the Hellenic past into the modern age, a feat for which they would both receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Unknown/WikiCommons
Giorgos Seferis and Odysseas Elytis both originated from outside of Greece (Elytis from Crete, and Seferis from Smyrna, in modern-day Turkey) but both moved with their families to Athens where they received their education. It is not difficult to see how they were both influenced by Greece’s rich cultural heritage, although they identified with different strands. Smyrna was taken by the Turks in 1922, and Seferis, having left in 1914, did not return until 1950. This sense of being an exile from his home deeply affected him, and so it is unsurprising that he identified with the ancient story of Odysseus, told by the great epic poet Homer, in which a hero of the long Trojan War is forced to wander the seas for ten years whilst he attempts to find his way home. It is possible to describe Seferis as something of a wanderer himself, as he had a long and successful diplomatic career, travelling to many different countries as the Greek Ambassador. The wanderer found a sense of closure on his visit to Cyprus in 1953, an island with which he felt an instant affinity, and which inspired him to end a seven year literary dry spell with the release of his book of poems Imerologio Katastromatos III, which celebrated his sense of homecoming.
Seferis’ particular brand of Hellenism, the main reason for his Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963, was concentrated on highlighting a unifying strand of humanism which endures in Greek culture and literature. This desire to find continuity between the cultures of ancient and modern Greece through his own personal interest in humanism is nowhere better demonstrated than in his acceptance speech of his Nobel Prize, in which he adapted a famous Greek myth: ‘When on his way to Thebes Oedipus encountered the Sphinx, his answer to its riddle was: ‘Man’. That simple word destroyed the monster. We have many monsters to destroy. Let us think of the answer of Oedipus.’ His place in Greek culture was demonstrated by the inclusion of a very famous stanza from his Mythistorema in the 2004 Athens Opening Ceremony. Moreover, his place in the hearts of the Greek people had been confirmed some years earlier upon his death: he became an important symbol of resistance against the repressive right-wing regime which terrorised Greece between 1967 and 1974, and at his funeral in 1971 huge crowds followed his coffin singing the words of his poem Denial, which was then banned. The poem itself conjures a wild and romantic vision of a Greek beach setting, but, as is characteristic of his work, with a human story at its heart. Mythistorema’s similarly watery setting is clearly taken from The Odyssey, of which it is in some ways a revised version; however, in the dreamy darkness of the narrative and the fragmentary form, and its rather loose allusions to the original story, it is easy to see the influence of T.S. Eliot’s Wasteland, which Seferis translated into Greek in 1936.

Jorge-11/WikiCommons
Where Seferis pointed the way, Elytis, with his friend’s encouragement, followed, and is today credited with the modernisation of Greek literature. Living in Paris in self-exile between 1948 and 1952, he was known and appreciated by some of the most important pioneers of the avant-garde, including artists Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Marc Chagall and Alberto Giacometti. Similarly interested by the modern Hellenistic culture as his friend and mentor Seferis, we can also detect elements of Ancient Greece and Byzantine culture in his work. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1979, perhaps chiefly because of his intensely personal style of writing; it is poetry that resonates with an absolute sincerity, even when speaking of the most rarefied of subject matter. A recurring theme is the metaphysics of the sun, or rather, the mystery of life, for he was a self-confessed ‘sun-worshipper’ or ‘idolator’. As Seferis’ poem Denial had been, his landmark work Worthy It Is became a great rallying anthem for all Greeks who resisted injustice, especially when set to music by Mikis Theodorakis. With an epic Biblical structure, it represents a fevered call to modern man for self-liberation and a hymn to the beauty of nature. Seferis’ works can be found translated into English in his Complete Poems, whilst Elytis’ Worthy It Is is published under its original name, The Axion Esti. It is perhaps time for us to recognise the importance of the role both of these writers brought to modern literature, in bringing the culture of Europe’s most ancient civilisation into the twentieth century, and fighting the epic battle against oppression and tyranny.
By Helena Cuss
http://www.theculturetrip.com