Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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Yannis Ritsos – Poems

A careful hand is needed to translate the poems of Yannis Ritsos, and Manolis is the ideal poet to undertake such an enormous task. Born in Crete, Manolis’s youth was intermingled with the poetry of Ritsos. Once a young man moved by the Theodorakis version of Epitaphios, he’s now a successful poet in his own right who is still moved to tears hearing the refrains of those notes from half a century ago. His Greek heritage, with its knowledge of the terrain, people, history and cultural themes, makes his translation all the more true to what Ritsos intended. Having visited the very places of which Ritsos wrote, he knows how the light and sea shift, and how Ritsos imagined those changes as being a temperament and personality of the Greece itself. The parallels in their lives are uncanny: when Ritsos was imprisoned, Manolis’ father also was imprisoned on false charges. Both men dealt with the forces of dictators and censorship, and experienced the cruel and unreasoning forces of those times. In fact, they even lived for a time in the same neighborhood. In his foreword to Poems, Manolis relates that he viewed him as a comrade, one whose “work resonated with our intense passion for our motherland and also in our veracity and strong-willed quest to find justice for all Greeks.” In Poems, Manolis chose to honor Ritsos first by not just picking and choosing a few titles to translate, although that might have been far easier. Instead, he undertook the complex task of translating fifteen entire books of Ritsos work-an endeavor that took years of meticulous research and patience. It should be noted that along with the translation, edited by Apryl Leaf, that he also includes a significant Introduction that gives a reader unfamiliar with Ritsos an excellent background on the poet from his own perspective. Dated according to when Ritsos composed them, it’s fascinating to see how some days were especially productive for him. These small details are helpful in understanding the context and meaning. For example, in Notes on the Margins of Time, written from 1938-1941, Ritsos explores the forces of war that are trickling into even the smallest villages. Without direct commentary, he alludes to trains, blood, and the sea that takes soldiers away, seldom to return. Playing an active role in these violent times, the moon observes all, and even appears as a thief ready to steal life from whom it is still new. From “In the Barracks”:

The moon entered the barracks It rummaged in the soldiers’ blankets Touched an undressed arm Sleep Someone talks in his sleep Someone snores A shadow gesture on the long wall The last trolley bus went by Quietness

Can all these be dead tomorrow? Can they be dead from right now?

A soldier wakes up He looks around with glassy eyes A thread of blood hangs from the moon’s lips

In Romiosini, the postwar years are a focus (1945-1947), and they have not been kind. The seven parts to this piece each reflect a soldier’s journey home.

These trees don’t take comfort in less sky These rocks don’t take comfort under foreigners’ Footsteps These faces don’t’ take comfort but only In the sun These hearts don’t take comfort except in justice.

The return to his country is marked by bullet-ridden walls, burnt-out homes, decay, and the predominantly female populace, one that still hears the bombs falling and the screams of the dead as they dully gaze about, looking for fathers, husbands, and sons. The traveler’s journey is marked by introspection and grim memories reflected on to the surfaces of places and things he thought he knew.

And now is the time when the moon kisses him sorrowfully Close to his ear The seaweed the flowerpot the stool and the stone ladder Say good evening to him And the mountains the seas and cities and the sky Say good evening to him And then finally shaking the ash off his cigarette Over the iron railing He may cry because of his assurance He may cry because of the assurance of the trees and The stars and his brothers

An entirely different feeling is found in Parentheses, composed 1946-1947. In it, healing is observed and a generosity of spirit exerts itself among those whose hearts had been previously crushed. In “Understanding”:

A woman said good morning to someone – so simple and natural Good morning… Neither division nor subtraction To be able to look outside Yourself-warmth and serenity Not to be ‘just yourself’ but ‘you too’ A small addition A small act of practical arithmetic easily understood…

On the surface, it may appear simple, a return to familiarity that may have been difficulty in times of war. Yet on another level, he appears to be referring to the unity among the Greek people-the ‘practical arithmetic’ that kept them united though their political state was volatile. Essentially timeless, his counsel goes far beyond nationalism.

Moonlight Sonata, written in 1956, is an impossibly romantic and poignant lyric poem that feels more like a short story. In it, a middle-aged woman talks to a young man in her rustic home. As he prepares to leave, she asks to walk with him a bit in the moonlight. “The moon is good –it doesn’t show my gray hair. The moon will turn my hair gold again. You won’t see the difference. Let me come with you”

Her refrain is repeated over and over as they walk, with him silent and her practically begging him to take her away from the house and its memories:

I know that everyone marches to love alone Alone to glory and to death I know it I tried it It’s of no use Let me come with you

The poem reveals her memories as well as his awkward silence, yet at the end of their journey, she doesn’t leave. Ritsos leaves the ending open: was it a dream? If not, why did she not go? What hold did the house have over her? Was it just the moonlight or a song on the radio that emboldened her?

In 1971, Ritsos wrote The Caretaker’s Desk in Athens, where he was under surveillance but essentially free. At this time he seems to be translating himself-that of how he was processing his own personal history. Already acclaimed for his work, perhaps he was uncertain of his own identity.

From “The Unknown”,

He knew what his successive disguises stood for (even with 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

If he is indeed discussing his identity, it’s with incredible honesty as to both his public persona and his private character. After all, he’d been nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968 (and eight more times) and he was likely weighing, in his later years, all that he’d endured.

The beauty of this particular translation is that, while subjects and emotions change over time, they still feel united by the underlying character of Ritsos. Some translators leave their own imprint or influence, yet this feels free of such adjustment. It’s as if Ritsos’ voice itself has been translated, with the pauses, humor, and pace that identify the subtle characteristics of an individual.




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
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
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

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Το απόγευμα είναι όλο πεσμένους σουβάδες, μαύρες πέτρες, ξερά
Το απόγευμα έχει ένα δύσκολο χρώμα από παλιά βήματα που
μείναν στη μέση
από παλιά πιθάρια θαμμένα στην αυλή, και πάνω τους η κούραση
και το χορτάρι.

Δυο σκοτωμένοι, πέντε σκοτωμένοι, δώδεκα—πόσοι και πόσοι.
Κάθε ώρα έχει το σκοτωμένο της. Πίσω απ’ τά παράθυρα
στέκουν αυτοί που λείπουν και το σταμνί με το νερό που δεν ήπιαν.

Κι αυτό το αστέρι που έπεσε στην άκρη της βραδιάς
είναι σαν το κομμένο αυτί που δεν ακούει τα τριζόνια
που δεν ακούει τις δικαιολογίες μας—δεν καταδέχεται
ν’ ακούσει τα τραγούδια μας—μονάχο, μονάχο,
μονάχο, αποκομμένο, αδιάφορο για καταδίκη ή για δικαίωση.


The afternoon is full of fallen plaster, black stones, dry
The afternoon has a difficult color of old footsteps stopped
of old storage jars buried in the yard and over them tiredness
and grass.

Two people killed, five killed, twelve – so many, so many.
Each hour has its own killed person. Behind the windows
stand the ones who left and the pitcher with water they didn’t drink.

And this star that fell at the edge of the evening
is like the severed ear that cannot hear the crickets
that cannot hear our excuses – it disdains
to hear our songs – alone, alone,
alone, detached, indifferent to condemnation or justification.

~Γιάννη Ρίτσου-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Yannis Ritsos-Selected Poems/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis

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Αργά τη νύχτα, που αραιώνει η κίνηση των δρόμων
κ’ οι τροχονόμοι εγκαταλείπουν τις θέσεις τους, αυτός
δεν ξέρει πια τι να κάνει, κοιτάει απ’ το παράθυρο κάτω
την τζαμαρία του μεγάλου καφενείου, χνωτισμένη
απ’ τους ατμούς της αυπνίας, κοιτάει τα γκαρσόνια
φασματικά, διαθλασμένα, ν’ αλλάζουν πίσω απ’ το ταμείο,
κοιτάει τον ουρανό με τις φαρδειές λευκές οπές, απ’ όπου
διακρίνονται οι τροχοί του τελευταίου λεωφορείου. Κ’ ύστερα
αυτό το “τίποτ’ άλλο, τίποτ’ άλλο”. Μπαίνει μέσα
στην ολόγυμνη κάμαρα, ακουμπάει το μέτωπό του
στον ώμο του δικού του αγάλματος (ψηλότερο απ’ το φυσικό)
νιώθοντας τη δροσιά του πρωινού πάνω στο μάρμαρο, ενώ,
κάτω στο προαύλιο με τις σπασμένες πλάκες, οι φύλακες
μαζεύουν τους κομμένους σπάγγους απ’ τα δέματα των εξορίστων.


Late at night when the traffic slows down
and the traffic wardens leave their posts he
doesn’t know what to do anymore; from his window
he looks down at the big glass of the cafe front steamed up
by the breathing of sleeplessness; he looks at the
spectral, refracted waiters changing clothes behind the cash;
he looks at the sky with its wide white holes
discerning in them the wheels of the last bus. And then
that: “nothing else, nothing else.” He enters
the totally empty room; he leans his forehead
on the shoulder of a statue resembling him (unnaturally taller)
feeling the freshness of morning on the marble while
down in the courtyard with the broken flagstones the guards
gather and cut strings of the packages of the exiled.

~Γιάννη Ρίτσου-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Yannis Ritsos-Selected Poems/translated by Manolis Aligizakis




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Νυχτερινό Επεισόδιο

Κάρφωσε το καρφί στον τοίχο. Δεν είχε
τι να κρεμάσει. Το κοιτούσε καθισμένος
άντικρυ στην παλιά καρέκλα. Δεν μπορούσε
τίποτα να σκεφτεί, να θυμηθεί. Σηκώθηκε,
σκέπασε το καρφί με το μαντίλι του. Κι άξαφνα
είδε το χέρι του μελανιασμένο, βαμμένο
απ’ το φεγγάρι που στεκόταν στο παράθυρο. Ο φονιάς
είχε πλαγιάσει στο κρεββάτι του. Τα πόδια του,
γυμνά, ισχυρά, μ’ άψογα νύχια, μ’ έναν κάλο
στο μικρό δάχτυλο, ξεπρόβαιναν απ’ την κουβέρτα
κι οι τρίχες καμπύλωναν ερωτικά. Έτσι πάντα
τ’ αγάλματα κοιμούνται με τα μάτια ανοιχτά
κι ούτε είναι να φοβάσαι όποιο όνειρο, όποιο λόγο—
τον πιστό μάρτυρα που σου χρειάζονταν τον έχεις,
τον ακριβόλογο κ’ εχέμυθο, γιατί, το ξέρεις,
τ’ αγάλματα δεν προδίνουν ποτέ, μονάχα αποκαλύπτουν.

Nightly Event

He hammered the nail on the wall. He didn’t
have anything to hang. He stared at it sitting
on the old chair opposite it. He couldn’t
think or remember anything. He got up
covered the nail with his kerchief. And suddenly
he noticed his bruised arm, painted by
the moon coming through the window. The killer
in his bed had gone to sleep. His legs
uncovered, strong with perfect toenails, with a callus on
the small toe visible under the blanket
and his hairs were curling erotically. The statues
always sleep like that with open eyes and
you don’t have to fear a dream or a word –
the true witness you needed, you have him,
the precise and trustworthy; because, you know,
statues never betray, they only reveal.


~Γιάννη Ρίτσου, “Θυρωρείο”, Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη
~Yannis Ritsos, “Caretaker’s Desk”, Translation Manolis Aligizakis

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     Early on we understood it was too late for us. There was

no place left where we could honor our saintly dead. Ηow

with lashes to discern who to punish and who to reward

with ephemeral fame while we got flogged by the wrath

of the right? Full moon witnessed tragedies and measures,

unimaginable delight of the confessor who tried to calm down

our resolve, ‘I looked at the impossible end’ he told us and fear,

unblemished fear, how heavy you weighted down onto

our lives as we kept marching in sunny days and in the darkness

of our guilt and we sang courage to give to our courage and

to accept that god was dead the days of the Ubermensch

had commenced.




      Νωρίς το καταλάβαμε ήταν πολύ αργά για μας, τόπο δεν

είχαμε για ν’ αποδώσουμε τιμές στους άγιους νεκρούς μας.

Πώς να ξεχωρίσεις ποιον να μαστιγώσεις και ποιον

να ανταμείψεις με την εφήμερη τη φήμη, ενώ

μας χτύπαγε η οργή της δεξιάς; Πανσέληνος μάρτυρας

τραγωδίας και μέτρων μιαρών, αφάνταστη χαρά πνευματικού

που επίσης γαλήνευε τη φλογερή μας φύση, «προσπάθησα

ξανά προσεκτικά να δω το τέλος μα ήταν αδύνατο», μας είπε

κι ο φόβος, άχραντος φόβος που τόσο βάραινε τη νειότη μας

και το ταξίδι συνεχίσαμε σε μέρες φωτεινές και σ’ ενοχής

σκοτάδι κι ετραγουδήσαμε το θάρρος μας να ενθαρρύνουμε,

που πέθανε ο θεός, οι μέρες του Υπερανθρώπου αρχίσανε.


Ubermensch, Ekstasis Editions, Victoria, BC, spring 2013

Υπεράνθρωπος, ΕΝΕΚΕΝ, Θεσσαλονίκη, Μάτριος 2014, τηλ 2310-833665


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Εδώ, όσο σιγά κι άν περπατήσω μές στήν άχνα τής βραδιάς,

Είτε μέ τίς παντούφλες, είτε ξυπόλητη,

κάτι θά τρίζει, — ένα τζάμι ραγίζει ή κάποιος καθρέφτης,

κάποια βήματα ακούγονται, — δέν είναι δικά μου.

Έξω, στό δρόμο μπορεί νά μήν ακούγονται τούα τά βήματα, —

η μεταμέλεια, λένε, φοράει ξυλοπάπουτσα, —

κι άν κάνεις νά κοιτάξεις σ’ αυτόν ή στόν άλλο καθρέφτη,

πίσω απ’ τή σκόνη καί τίς ραγισματιές,

διακρίνεις πιό θαμπό καί πιό τεμαχισμένο τό προσωπό σου,

τό πρόσωπό σου πού άλλο δέ ζήτησες στή ζωή παρά νά το κρατήσεις

     καθάριο κι αδιαίρετο.

Τά χείλη τού ποτηριού γυαλίζουν στό φεγγαρόφωτο

σάν κυκλικό ξυράφι — πώς νά τό φέρω στά χείλη μου;

όσο κι άν διψώ, — πώς νά τό φέρω; — Βλέπεις;

έχω ακόμη διάθεση γιά παρομοιώσεις —αυτό μού απόμεινε,

αυτό μέ βεβαιώνει ακόμη πως δέ λείπω.

Άφησέ με νάρθω μαζί σου.


Here no matter how lightly I walk in the haze of evening

whether in slippers or barefoot

something will creak — a window cracks or a mirror

some footsteps are heard — they are not mine.

Perhaps these footsteps are not heard outside in the street

the repentance, they say, wears wooden shoes—

and if you see them in this or the other mirror

beyond the dust and the cracks

you’ll discern your face even hazier and more fragmented

your face that above all you wanted to maintain clear

       and indivisible.


The rim of the water glass shines in the moonlight

like a circular razor — how can I bring it to my lips?

When I thirst so much — how can I bring it? – You see?

I am still in the mood for similes – this has stayed with me

this still assures me that I am not absent.

Let me come with you.


ΓιάννηΡίτσουΗΣονάτατουΣεληνόφωτος/Yannis Ritsos-Moonlight Sonata

Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis


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Ο χωροφύλακας περνάει μέ τό βραδινό συσσίτιο στήν καραβάνα του

η χλαίνη του χτυπάει στόν άνεμο σά λαμαρίνα στόν προσφυγικό


Τί χωρίζει λοιπόν τούς ανθρώπους μέσα σ’ ένα απόγευμα πού

     ανάβουν τά φώτα τόσο νωρίς

όταν τό μαγκάλι ανάβει στήν ξώπορτα τού φτωχόσπιτου

όταν μιά μακριά ουρά από κόκκινες σπίθες τινάζεται στόν άνεμο

καί θά μπορούσε νάναι ένα άλογο πού καλπάζει στά παραμύθια

ένα άλογο πού μπορείς καί σύ κι εγώ νά καβαλλικέψουμε

καί νά μάς πάει όπου θέμε—σ’ ένα χωράφι παπαρούνες

όπου γελάνε τά κορίτσια—όπου θέμε—ένα άλογο—


Τί χωρίζει λοιπόν τούς ανθρώπους όταν εσύ κι εγώ πεινάμε

όταν διψάμε χώρια είτε μαζί—τό ίδιο διψάμε,

τί μάς χωρίζει; νάσαι σύ ο φρουρός καί γώ ο εξόριστος

όταν η λέξη μητέρα ξέρουμε κ’ οι δυό μας τί θά πεί

όταν οπαγώνουν τ’ αυτιά καί τών δυονώ μας μέ τόν άνεμο

κι όταν στήν τσέπη μας κρατάμε λίγα χρώματα απ’ τό δείλι

σάν τά χαρτνομίσματα μιάς άλλης εποχής πού δέν μπορείς μ’ αυτά

     ν’ αγοράσεις τίποτα στίς μέρες μας;


The policeman goes by with the evening meal in his mess tin

his greatcoat flaps in the wind like sheet metal in the refugee


Then what separates people in this afternoon when the lights

      are turned on so early

when a brazier is put on in the front door of the poor dwelling

when a long tail of red sparkles blows up in the wind

and it could be a horse galloping in fairy tales

a horse that you and I can ride on

and it can take us wherever we want – to a poppy field

where girls laugh – whatever we want – one horse –

Then what separates people when you and I are hungry

when we thirst together or on our own – we thirst the same way

what separates us? That you are the guard and I am the exiled

when we both know the meaning of the word mother

when both our ears freeze by the wind

and when we hold a few colors of dusk in our pockets

like money of another era that can’t buy you

      anything these days?

Γιάννη Ρίτσου-Ακροβολισμός/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη

Yannis Ritsos-Skirmish/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis


                             A COMMON ROOM

     I was going up the stairs for a while when an old woman with a black

 hood opened the door, “everyone has died here, she says to me,

for this whatever you say isn’t heard”, then I saw someone crawling

under the sofa, “what is he looking for?” I asked, “Christ, she says to me,

will come a few more times”, the woman started to read the cards

I was scared when I saw her hand pointing at me, “you will miss

your path many a time”, she says to me, “how can I miss it, I say,

I’m crippled, I don’t walk, someone else pulls the cart”, “still, you’ll

miss it”, “you are a whore, I say to her, and you disturb me, a holy man

—and you, if no one wants you why do you tease me?”, “I don’t tease

you, it’s the candle that flickers”, I felt sorry for her, “I know you,

I say to her, in fact it’s possible that we lived together long time ago”,

the time was exactly seven o’clock, I look at my watch and it showed

the same time, “now she’ll start again” I thought in despair, and

the old woman with slow steps went and locked the door.

                          ΜΙΑ ΚΟΙΝΗ ΚΑΜΑΡΑ

     Ανέβαινα απ’ ώρα τή σκάλα, μού άνοιξε μιά γριά μέ μιά μαύρη

σκούφια, “εδώ έχουν πεθάνει πολλοί, μού λέει, γι αυτό ό,τι κι άν

πείς δέν ακούγεται”, τότε είδα κάποιον πού σερνόταν κάτω απ’ τόν

καναπέ, “τί ψάχνει;” ρώτησα, “ο Χριστός, μού λέει, θά `ρθει κι

άλλες φορές”, η γυναίκα έριχνε τά χαρτιά, τρόμαξα καθώς είδα τό

χέρι της ν’ ανεβαίνει, “θά χάσεις πολλές φορές τό δρόμο” μού λέει,

“μά πώς θά τόν χάσω, τής λέω, εγώ είμαι ανήπηρος καί δέν περ-

πατάω, άλλος σέρνει τό καροτσάκι”, “κι όμως θά τόν χάσεις” μού

λέει, “είσαι μιά πουτάνα, τής λέω, νά μέ ταράζεις άγιον άνθρωπο

—κι εσύ, αφού κανένας δέ σέ θέλει, γιατί κουνιέσαι;”, “δέν κουνιέ-

μαι εγώ, μού λέει, τό καντήλι τρέμει”, τήν λυπήθηκα, “σέ ξέρω,

τής λέω, δέν αποκλείεται, μάλιστα, νά `χουμε ζήσει πολύν καιρό

μαζί”, η ώρα ήταν επτά ακριβώς, κοίταξα τό ρολόι μου κι έδειχνε

κι εκείνο τό ίδιο, “τώρα αρχίζει” σκέφτηκα μέ απόγνωση, κι η

γριά μέ συρτά βήματα πήγε καί μαντάλωσε τήν πόρτα.

Tasos Livaditis-Short Stories/Translated by Manolis Aligizakis

Τάσος Λειβαδίτης-Μικρές Ιστορίες/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη

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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. 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

like a cypress between two mountains
at sundown.
Their hands are glued onto 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.


Αυτά τά δέντρα δέ βολεύονται μέ λιγότερο ουρανό,

αυτές οι πέτρες δέ βολεύονται κάτου απ’ τά ξένα


αυτά τά πρόσωπα δέ βολεύονται παρά μόνο στόν


αυτές οι καρδιές δέ βολεύονται παρά μόνο στό δίκιο.

Ετούτο τό τοπίο είναι σκληρό σάν τή σιωπή,

σφίγγει στόν κόρφο του τά πυρωμένα του λιθάρια,

σφίγγει στό φώς τίς ορφανές ελιές του καί τ’ α-

      μπέλια του,

σφίγγει τά δόντια. Δέν υπάρχει νερό. Μονάχα φώς.

Ο δρόμος χάνεται στό φώς κι ο ίσκιος τής μά-

     ντρας είναι σίδερο.

Μαρμάρωσαν τά δέντρα, τά ποτάμια κι οι φωνές

      μές στόν ασβέστη τού ήλιου.

Η ρίζα σκοντάφτει στό μάρμαρο. Τά σκονισμένα


Τό μουλάρι κι ο βράχος. Λαχανιάζουν. Δέν υπάρχει


Όλοι διψάνε. Χρόνια τώρα. Όλοι μασάνε μιά μπου-

     κιά ουρανό πάνου απ’ τήν πίκρα τους.

Τά μάτια τους είναι κόκκινα απ’ τήν αγρύπνια,

μιά βαθειά χαρακιά σφηνωμένη ανάμεσα στά φρύδια


σάν ένα κυπαρίσι ανάμεσα σέ δυό βουνά τό λιό-


Τό χέρι τους είναι κολλημένο στό ντουφέκι,

τό ντουφέκι είναι συνέχεια τού χεριού τους,

τό χέρι τους είναι συνέχεια τής ψυχής τους—

έχουν στά χείλη τους απάνου τό θυμό

κ’ έχουνε τόν καημό βαθιά-βαθιά στά μάτια τους

σάν ένα αστέρι σέ μιά γούβα αλάτι.

Yannis Ritsos-Romiosini/translated by Manolis Aligizakis

Γιάννης Ρίτσος-Ρωμιοσύνη/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη