Posts Tagged ‘body’

cloe-and-alexandra_cover_aug265

ΛΑΤΙΝΙΚΑ ΠΟΙΗΜΑΤΑ

 

Στροβιλίστηκαν και πύρωσαν στον έρωτα.

Ναρκωμένη ακόμη απ’ τα φιλιά του

νόμισε πως έβρεχε έξω, αλλά εκείνος την πρόλαβε:

«Δεν είναι βροχή παρά οι κρότοι απ’ τα ξερόκλαδα

που καίει ο κηπουρός στον κήπο».

Ντύθηκαν, και αφού της έβαλε κάτι να πιεί,

άνοιξε και της διάβασε ποίηση του Οράτιου

απ’ το πρωτότυπο.

Της διάβασε γαμήλιους ύμνους.

Ιδιόρρυθμοι λαρυγγισμοί και φθόγγοι

και χυμώδεις λέξεις των λατινικών.

Μετά τον έρωτα τελείωσαν με στίχους.

 

 

POEMS in LATIN

 

They rolled around conflagrated by passion.

Still in seventh heaven by his kisses,

she thought it was raining but he corrected her:

‘It isn’t rain but the crackling of the dry wood

the gardener is burning outside’

They got dressed and after he offered her a drink,

he opened a book and read Horatio’s poetry

from the original version.

He red some erotic hymns

with his accent trills and sounds

and the juicy words in Latin.

After their lovemaking they finished with verse.

 

Cloe and Alexandra, Translated by Manolis Aligizakis, Libros Libertad, 2013

www.manolisaligizakis.com

 

Cloe and Alexandra_cover_aug265
ΤΟ ΓΥΜΝΟ ΠΟΙΗΜΑ

Έρχομαι σε σένα με το σώμα μου γυμνό.
Πρώτα παχουλό και ασχημάτιστο
με δίπλες στα χέρια και στα πόδια
ύστερα έφηβο στο μωβ του κοχυλιού
χωρίς την εισβολή του μολυβιού
που θα αλλάξει την άγνοια της γραφής
τέλος γυναικείο,
με εγγεγραμμένη
την κοιλάδα της απώλειας
φουσκωμένο με την υγρή βεβαιότητα της γέννας
με λέξεις καμπύλες
για να κρύβουν και να έλκουν
με τα κενά ανάμεσα στους στίχους
για να σιωπούν
και να χωρούν το σχήμα των δαχτύλων σου.
Έρχομαι σε σένα
κάθε βράδυ,
ποίημα γυμνό και μόνο
γεμάτο ψίθυρους και αρχαία μυστικά.
Για να με διαβάσεις.

 

THE NAKED POEM

I come to you naked.
At first chubby and unshaped
with folds of skin under my arms and legs
then a teenager in a conch’s purple
without the pen’s interference
to change the ignorance of writing
a woman’s purpose
with an incised
valley of loss
swollen by the moist certainty of childbirth
with contour words
to hide and attract
with gaps between the verses
that they may stay silent
and contain the shape of your fingers.
I come to you
every night,
a naked and lonely poem
full of whispers and ancient secrets.
That you may read me.

~CLOE and ALEXANDRA, μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη, Libros Libertad, 2013
http://www.libroslibertad.ca
http://www.authormanolis.wordpress.com
http://www.vequinox.wordpress.com

Kostis_Palamas

MOTIONLESS LIFE

And for the temple I struggled to create
a statue on this rock: my body,
to place it naked, and to spend my life
to spend my life and never die

and I created it. And people, latest worshipers
before the wooden statues badly dressed
felt the thrill of anger and fear’s shiver
and saw the statue and I as combatants.

And they thrashed the statue and sent me to exile.
And to the foreign lands I led my steps
yet before it I offered a strange sacrifice
I dug a hole and deep into it I buried my statue.

And I whispered to it: “unseen spend your days
along with the roots and ancient ruins,
until your time comes, invincible flower that you are
even temple longs to dress your godly nakedness!”

And with his wide open mouth and voice of a prophet
the hole spoke: “No temple, nor depth, nor light, alas.
For here, for there, nowhere your flower, oh, master craftsman!
Let it for ever vanish in the un-rummaged hole.

It may never have its time! Yet if it appears
let the temple shine filled by the people’s statues
immaculate the statues and the all-great sculptors
come back, a phantasm, during the night of the tombs!

Today’s day came early, tomorrow’s will be late
the dream won’t rescue you, the dawn you wish will never coma
with the longing of immortality you can’t reach, stay,
a hunter of the cloud, Praxiteles of the shadow.

The present and tomorrow’s things, snares and seas, all
tools of your drowning and tricky visions
farther from your glory, single violet in the garden
and you will wither, you better learn, and you will die.”

And I answered: “Let me wither and let me die!
Creator I also am with my mind and all my heart
let the tomb consume my flesh, perhaps my fast passing
through worthy is more than all the immortal.”
Η ΑΣΑΛΕΥΤΗ ΖΩΗ

 

Και τ᾿ άγαλμα αγωνίστηκα για το ναὸ να πλάσω
στην πέτρα τη δική μου απάνω,
και να το στήσω ὁλόγυμνο, και να περάσω,
και να περάσω, δίχως να πεθάνω.

και το ῾πλασα. Κ᾿ οι ἄνθρωποι, στενοὶ προσκυνητάδες
στα ξόανα τ᾿ ἄπλαστα μπροστὰ και τα κακοντυμένα,
θυμοῦ γρικῆσαν τίναγμα και φόβου ἀνατριχάδες,
κ᾿ είδανε σαν ἀντίμαχους και τ᾿ αγαλμα κ᾿ εμένα.

Και τ᾿ άγαλμα στα κύμβαλα, κ᾿ ἐμὲ στην ἐξορία.
Και προς τα ξένα τράβηξα το γοργοπέρασμά μου
και πριν τραβήξω, πρόσφερα παράξενη θυσία
έσκαψα λάκκο, κ᾿ έθαψα στὸ λάκκο τ᾿ άγαλμά μου.

Και του ψιθύρησα: «Άφαντο βυθίσου αὐτοῦ και ζῆσε
με τα βαθιὰ ριζώματα και με τ᾿ ἀρχαία συντρίμμια,
όσο που νάρθ᾿ η ώρα σου, αθάνατ᾿ άνθος είσαι,
ναὸς να ντύση καρτερεῖ τη θεία δική σου γύμνια!»

Και μ᾿ ένα στόμα διάπλατο, και με φωνὴ προφήτη,
μίλησ᾿ ο λάκκος: «Ναὸς κανείς, βάθρο ούτε, φώς, του κάκου.
Για δώ, για κει, για πουθενὰ το ἄνθος σου, ώ τεχνίτη!
Κάλλιο για πάντα να χαθή μέσ᾿ στ᾿ άψαχτα ενὸς λάκκου.

Ποτὲ μην έρθ᾿ η ώρα του! Κι αν έρθη κι αν προβάλη,
μεστὸς θα λάμπη και ο ναὸς απὸ λαὸ αγαλμάτων,
τ᾿ αγάλματα αψεγάδιαστα, κ᾿ οι πλάστες τρισμεγάλοι
γύρνα ξανά, βρυκόλακα, στη νύχτα των μνημάτων!

Το σήμερα είτανε νωρίς, τ᾿ αύριο αργὰ θα είναι,
δέ θα σου στρέξη τ᾿ όνειρο, δε θάρθ᾿ η αὐγὴ που θέλεις,
με τον καημὸ τ᾿ αθανάτου που δεν το φτάνεις, μείνε,
κυνηγητὴς του σύγγνεφου, του ίσκιου Πραξιτέλης.

Τὰ τωρινὰ και τ᾿ αυριανά, βρόχοι και πέλαγα, όλα
σύνεργα του πνιγμού για σε και οράματα της πλάνης
μακρότερη απ᾿ τη δόξα σου και μία του κήπου βιόλα
και θα περάσης, μάθε το, και θα πεθάνης!»

Κ᾿ εγὼ ἀποκρίθηκα: «Άς περάσω κι άς πεθάνω!
Πλάστης κ᾿ εγὼ μ᾿ όλο το νου και μ᾿ όλη την καρδιά μου
λάκκος κι άς φάη το πλάσμα μου, ἀπὸ τ᾿ αθάνατα όλα
μπορεῖ ν᾿ αξίζει πιο πολὺ το γοργοπέρασμά μου».

~Κωστή Παλαμά, μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη

Kostis Palamas
Kostis Palamas (Greek: Κωστής Παλαμάς; 13 January 1859 – 27 February 1943) was a Greek poet who wrote the words to the Olympic Hymn. He was a central figure of the Greek literary generation of the 1880s and one of the cofounders of the so-called New Athenian School (or Palamian School, or Second Athenian School) along with Georgios Drosinis, Nikos Kampas, Ioanis Polemis.
Born in Patras, he received his primary and secondary education in Mesolonghi. In 1880s, he worked as a journalist. He published his first collection of verses, the “Songs of My Fatherland”, in 1886. He held an administrative post at the University of Athens between 1897 and 1926, and died during the German occupation of Greece during World War II. His funeral was a major event of the Greek resistance: the funerary poem composed and recited by fellow poet Angelos Sikelianos roused the mourners and culminated in an angry demonstration of a 100,000 people against Nazi occupation.
Palamas wrote the lyrics to the Olympic Hymn, composed by Spyridon Samaras. It was first performed at the 1896 Summer Olympics, the first modern Olympic Games. The Hymn was then shelved as each host city from then until the 1960 Winter Olympics commissioned an original piece for its edition of the Games, but the version by Samaras and Palamas was declared the official Olympic Anthem in 1958 and has been performed at each edition of the Games since the 1960 Winter Olympics.
The old administration building of the University of Athens, in downtown Athens, where his work office was located, is now dedicated to him as the “Kosti Palamas Building” and houses the “Greek Theater Museum”, as well as many temporary exhibitions.
He has been informally called the “national” poet of Greece and was closely associated with the struggle to rid Modern Greece of the “purist” language and with political liberalism. He dominated literary life for 30 or more years and greatly influenced the entire political-intellectual climate of his time. Romain Rolland considered him the greatest poet of Europe and he was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature but never received it. His most important poem, “The Twelve Lays of the Gypsy” (1907), is a poetical and philosophical journey. His “Gypsy” is a free-thinking, intellectual rebel, a Greek Gypsy in a post-classical, post-Byzantine Greek world, an explorer of work, love, art, country, history, religion and science, keenly aware of his roots and of the contradictions between his classical and Christian heritages.

Κωστής Παλαμάς

Ο Κωστής Παλαμάς (Πάτρα, 13 Ιανουαρίου 1859 – Αθήνα, 27 Φεβρουαρίου 1943) ήταν ποιητής, πεζογράφος, θεατρικός συγγραφέας, ιστορικός και κριτικός της λογοτεχνίας. Θεωρείται ένας από τους σημαντικότερους Έλληνες ποιητές, με σημαντική συνεισφορά στην εξέλιξη και ανανέωση της νεοελληνικής ποίησης. Αποτέλεσε κεντρική μορφή της λογοτεχνικής γενιάς του 1880, πρωτοπόρος, μαζί με το Νίκο Καμπά και το Γεώργιο Δροσίνη, της αποκαλούμενης Νέας Αθηναϊκής (ή Παλαμικής) σχολής. Επίσης, είχε σπουδάσει και ως θεατρικός παραγωγός της ελληνικής λογοτεχνίας
Γεννήθηκε στην Πάτρα στις 13 Ιανουαρίου 1859 από γονείς που κατάγονταν από το Μεσολόγγι. Η οικογένεια του πατέρα του ήταν οικογένεια λογίων, με αξιόλογη πνευματική δραστηριότητα, και ασχολούμενων με τη θρησκεία. Ο προπάππος του Παναγιώτης Παλαμάς (1722-1803) είχε ιδρύσει στο Μεσολόγγι την περίφημη “Παλαμαία Σχολή” και ο παππούς του Ιωάννης είχε διδάξει στην Πατριαρχική Ακαδημία της Κωνσταντινούπολης. Ο θείος του Ανδρέας Παλαμάς υπήρξε πρωτοψάλτης και υμνογράφος, τον οποίο ο Κωστής Παλαμάς αναφέρει στα “Διηγήματά” του (Β’ έκδοση, 1929, σελ. 200). Ο Μιχαήλ Ευσταθίου Παλαμάς (αδελφός του Ανδρέα) και ο Πανάρετος Παλαμάς ήταν ασκητές. Ο Δημήτριος Ι. Παλαμάς, επίσης θείος του Κωστή, ήταν ψάλτης και υμνογράφος στο Μεσολόγγι.
Όταν ο ποιητής ήταν 6 χρονών έχασε και τους δύο γονείς του σε διάστημα σαράντα ημερών (Δεκέμβριος 1864-Φεβρουάριος 1865). Στενοί συγγενείς ανέλαβαν τότε τα τρία παιδιά της οικογένειας, το μικρότερο αδερφό του η αδερφή της μητέρας του και εκείνον και το μεγαλύτερο αδερφό του ο θείος τους Δημήτριος Παλαμάς, που κατοικούσε στο Μεσολόγγι. Εκεί έζησε από το 1867 ως το 1875 σε ατμόσφαιρα μάλλον δυσάρεστη και καταθλιπτική, που ήταν φυσικό να επηρεάσει τον ευαίσθητο ψυχισμό του, όπως φαίνεται και από ποιήματα που αναφέρονται στην παιδική του ηλικία.
Μετά την αποφοίτησή του από το γυμνάσιο εγκαταστάθηκε στην Αθήνα το 1875, όπου γράφτηκε στην Νομική Σχολή. Σύντομα όμως εγκατέλειψε τις σπουδές του αποφασισμένος να ασχοληθεί με τη λογοτεχνία. Το πρώτο του ποίημα το είχε γράψει σε ηλικία 9 ετών, μιμούμενος τα πρότυπα της εποχής του, “ποίημα για γέλια”, όπως το χαρακτήρισε αργότερα ο ίδιος. Η αρχή του ποιήματος εκείνου ήταν: “Σ΄ αγαπώ εφώνησα, / κι εσύ μ΄ αστράπτον βλέμμα /Μη – μ΄ απεκρίθης – μη θνητέ, / τολμήσης να μιάνης / δια της παρουσίας σου / τας ώρας τας ωραίας / που έζησα στον κόσμον /…”.
Από το 1875 δημοσίευε σε εφημερίδες και περιοδικά διάφορα ποιήματα και το 1876 υπέβαλε στον Βουτσιναίο ποιητικό διαγωνισμό την ποιητική συλλογή Ερώτων Έπη, σε καθαρεύουσα, με σαφείς τις επιρροές της Α’ Αθηναϊκής Σχολής. Η συλλογή απορρίφθηκε με το χαρακτηρισμό “λογιωτάτου γραμματικού ψυχρότατα στιχουργικά γυμνάσματα”. Η πρώτη του αυτοτελής έκδοση ήταν το 1878 το ποίημα “Μεσολόγγι”. Από το 1898 εκείνος και οι δύο φίλοι και συμφοιτητές του Νίκος Καμπάς (με τον οποίο μοιραζόταν το ίδιο δωμάτιο) και Γεώργιος Δροσίνης άρχισαν να συνεργάζονται με τις πολιτικές-σατιρικές εφημερίδες “Ραμπαγάς” και “Μη χάνεσαι”. Οι τρεις φίλοι είχαν συνειδητοποιήσει την παρακμή του αθηναϊκού ρομαντισμού και με το έργο τους παρουσίαζαν μια νέα ποιητική πρόταση, η οποία βέβαια ενόχλησε τους παλαιότερους ποιητές, που τους αποκαλούσαν περιφρονητικά “παιδαρέλια” ή ποιητές της “Νέας Σχολής”.
Το 1886 δημοσιεύτηκε η πρώτη του ποιητική συλλογή Τραγούδια της Πατρίδος μου στη δημοτική γλώσσα, η οποία εναρμονίζεται απόλυτα με το κλίμα της Νέας Αθηναϊκής Σχολής. Το 1887 παντρεύτηκε τη συμπατριώτισσά του Μαρία Βάλβη, με την οποία απέκτησαν τρία παιδιά, μεταξύ των οποίων και ο Λέανδρος Παλαμάς. το 1889 δημοσιεύτηκε ο Ύμνος εις την Αθηνάν, αφιερωμένος στη γυναίκα του, για τον οποίο βραβεύτηκε στον Φιλαδέλφειο ποιητικό διαγωνισμό την ίδια χρονιά. Ένδειξη της καθιέρωσής του ως ποιητή ήταν η ανάθεση της σύνθεσης του Ύμνου των Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων, το 1896. Το 1898, μετά το θάνατο του γιου του Άλκη σε ηλικία τεσσάρων ετών, δημοσίευσε την ποιητική σύνθεση “Ο Τάφος”. Το 1897 διορίστηκε γραμματέας στο Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών, απ’ όπου αποχώρησε το 1928. Από την ίδια χρονιά (1897) άρχισε να δημοσιεύει τις σημαντικότερες ποιητικές του συλλογές και συνθέσεις, όπως οι “Ίαμβοι και Ανάπαιστοι” (1897), “Ασάλευτη Ζωή” (1904), “ο Δωδεκάλογος του Γύφτου” (1907), “Η Φλογέρα του Βασιλιά” (1910). Το 1918 του απονεμήθηκε το Εθνικό Αριστείο Γραμμάτων και Τεχνών, ενώ από το 1926 αποτέλεσε βασικό μέλος της Ακαδημίας των Αθηνών, της οποίας έγινε πρόεδρος το 1930.
Κατά τον Ελληνοϊταλικό πόλεμο του 1940 ο Κωστής Παλαμάς μαζί με άλλους Έλληνες λογίους προσυπέγραψε την έκκληση των Ελλήνων Διανοουμένων προς τους διανοούμενους ολόκληρου του κόσμου, με την οποία αφενός μεν καυτηριάζονταν η κακόβουλη ιταλική επίθεση, αφετέρου δε, διέγειρε την παγκόσμια κοινή γνώμη σε επανάσταση συνειδήσεων για κοινό νέο πνευματικό Μαραθώνα.
Πέθανε στις 27 Φεβρουαρίου του 1943 έπειτα από σοβαρή ασθένεια, 40 ημέρες μετά το θάνατο της συζύγου του (τον οποίο δεν είχε πληροφορηθεί επειδή και η δική του υγεία ήταν σε κρίσιμη κατάσταση). Η κηδεία του έμεινε ιστορική, καθώς μπροστά σε έκπληκτους Γερμανούς κατακτητές, χιλιάδες κόσμου τον συνόδευσαν στην τελευταία του κατοικία, στο Α΄ νεκροταφείο Αθηνών, ψάλλοντας τον εθνικό ύμνο.

Η οικία του Παλαμά στην Πάτρα σώζεται ως σήμερα στην οδό Κορίνθου 241. Τρία χρόνια πριν τη γέννηση του Παλαμά στο ίδιο σπίτι γεννήθηκε η μεγάλη Ιταλίδα πεζογράφος Ματθίλδη Σεράο.
Ήταν υποψήφιος για το Βραβείο Νόμπελ Λογοτεχνίας 14 φορές (1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938 και 1940).[3] Ανάμεσα σε αυτούς που πρότειναν τον Παλαμά για το βραβείο υπήρξε και ο νικητής του 1916 Καρλ Γκούσταφ Βέρνερ φον Χάιντενσταμ, ο οποίος πρότεινε τον Παλαμά τρεις φορές (1928, 1930 και 1935).[4]
Σήμερα “τιμής ένεκεν” φέρεται αφιερωμένη στο όνομά του μεγάλη αίθουσα εκθέσεων του πολυχώρου Τεχνόπολις στην Αθήνα.
Ο Παλαμάς ήταν ένας από τους πολυγραφότερους Έλληνες λογοτέχνες και πνευματικούς ανθρώπους. Δημοσίευσε συνολικά σαράντα ποιητικές συλλογές, καθώς και θεατρικά έργα, κριτικά και ιστορικά δοκίμια, συγκριτικές μελέτες και βιβλιοκριτικές. Την επιμέλεια της επανέκδοσης των έργων του μετά το θάνατό του ανέλαβε ο γιος του Λέανδρος Παλαμάς επίσης ποιητής και κριτικός της λογοτεχνίας.

woolf-virginia-image2

Virginia Woolf, ” Solid Objects “.

The only thing that moved upon the vast semi-circle of the beach was one small black spot. As it came nearer to the ribs and spine of the stranded pilchard boat, it became apparent from a certain tenuity in its blackness that this spot possessed four legs: and moment by moment it became more unmistakable that it was composed of the persons of two young men. Even thus in outline against the sand there was an unmistakable vitality in them; an indescribable vigour in the approach and withdrawal of the bodies, slight though it was, which proclaimed some violent argument issuing from the tiny mouths of the little round heads. This was corroborated on closer view by the repeated lunging of a walking-stick on the right-hand side. ‘You mean to tell me . . . You actually believe . . .’ thus the walking-stick on the right-hand side next the waves seemed to be asserting as it cut long straight stripes upon the sand.

‘Politics be damned!’ issued clearly from the body on the left-hand side, and, as these words were uttered, the mouths, noses, chins, little moustaches, tweed caps, rough boots, shooting coats, and check stocking of the two speakers became clearer and clearer; the smoke of their pipes went up to the air; nothing was so solid, so living, so hard, red, hirsute and virile as these two bodies for miles and miles of sea and sandhill.

They flung themselves down by the six ribs and spine of the black pilchard boat. You know how the body seems to shake itself free from an argument, and to apologize for a mood of exaltation; flinging itself down ans expressing in the looseness of its attitude a readiness to take up with something new – whatever it may be that comes next to hand. So Charles, whose stick had been slashing the beach for half a mile or so, began skimming flat pieces of slate over the water; and John, who had exclaimed ‘Politics be damned!’ began burrowing his fingers down, down, into the sand. As his hand went further and further beyond the wrist, so that he had to hitch his sleeve a little higher, his eyes lost their intensity, or rather the background of thought and experience which gives an inscrutable depth to the eyes of grown people disappeared, leaving only the clear transparent surface, expressing nothing but wonder, which the eyes of young children display.

No doubt the act of burrowing in the sand had something to do with it. he remembered that, after digging for a little, the water oozes round your finger-tips; the hole then becomes a moat; a well; a spring secret channel to the sea.

As he was choosing which of these things to make it, still working his fingers in the water, they curled round something hard – a full drop of solid matter – and gradually dislodged a large irregular lump, and brought it to the surface. When the sand coating was wiped off, a green tint appeared. It was a lump of glass, so thick as to be almost opaque; the smoothing of the sea had completely worn off any edge or shape, so that it was impossible to say whether it had been bottle, tumbler or window-pane; it was nothing but glass; it was almost a precious stone.

You had only to enclose it in a rim of gold, or pierce it with a wire, and it became a jewel; part of a necklace, or a dull, green light upon a finger. Perhaps after all it was really a gem; something worn by a dark Princess trailing her finger in the water as she sat in the stern of the boat and listened to the slaves singing as they rowed her across the Bay. Or the oak sides of a sunk Elizabethan treasure-chest had split apart, and, rolled over and over, over and over, its emeralds had come at last to shore.

John turned it in his hands; he held it to the light; he held it so that its irregular mass blotted out the body and extended right arm of his friend. the green thinned and thickened slightly as it was held against the sky or against the body. It pleased him; it puzzled him; it was so hard, so concentrated, so definite an object compared with the vague sea and the hazy shore.

Now a sigh disturbed him – profound, final, making him aware that his friend Charles had thrown all the flat stones within reach, or had come to the conclusion that it was not worth while to throw them. They ate their sandwiches side by side. when they had done, and were shaking themselves and rising to their feet, John took the lump of glass and looked at it in silence. Charles looked at it too. But he saw immediately that it was not flat, and filling his pipe he said with the energy that dismissed a foolish strain of thought,
‘To return to what I was saying -‘
He did not see, or if he had seen would hardly have noticed, that John after looking at the lump for a moment, as if in hesitation, slipped it inside his pocket. That impulse, too, may have been the impulse which leads a child to pick up one pebble on a path strewn with them, promising it a life of warmth and security upon the nursery mantelpiece, delighting in the sense of power and benignity which such an action confers, and believing that the heart of the stone leaps with joy when it sees itself chosen from a million like it, to enjoy the bliss instead of a life of cold and wet upon the high road. ‘It might so easily have been any other of the millions of stones, but it was I, I, I!’

Whether this thought or not was in John’s mind: the lump of glass had its place upon the mantelpiece, where it stood heavy upon a little pile of bills and letters, and served not only as an excellent paper-weight, but also as a natural stopping place for the young man’s eyes when they wandered from his book. Looked at again and again half consciously by a mind thinking of something else, any object mixes itself so profoundly with the stuff of thought that it loses its actual form and recomposes itself a little differently in an ideal shape which haunts the brain when we least expect it.

So John found himself attracted to the windows of curiosity shops when he was out walking, merely because he saw something which reminded him of the lump of glass. Anything, so long as it was an object of some kind, more or less round, perhaps with a dying flame deep sunk in its mass, anything – chine, glass, amber, rock, marble – even the smooth oval egg of prehistoric bird would do. He took, also, to keeping his eyes upon the ground, especially in the neighbourhood of waste land where the household refuse is thrown away.

Such objects often occurred there – thrown away, of no use to anybody, shapeless, discarded. In a few months he had collected four or five specimens that took their place upon the mantelpiece. They were useful, too, for a man who is standing for Parliament upon the brink of a brilliant career has any number of papers to keep in order – addresses to constituents, declarations of policy, appeals for subscriptions, invitations to dinner, and so on.

One day, starting from his rooms in the Temple to catch a train in order to address his constituents, declarations of policy, appeals for subscriptions, invitations to dinner, and so on.

One day, starting from his rooms in the Temple to catch a train in order to address hi constituents, his eyes rested upon a remarkable object lying half-hidden in one of those little borders of grass which edge the bases of vast legal buildings. He could only touch it with the point of his stick through the railings; but he could see that it was a piece of china of the most remarkable shape, as nearly resembling a starfish as anything – shaped, or broken accidentally, into five irregular but unmistakable points.

The colouring was mainly blue, but green stripes or spots of some kind overlaid the blue, and lines of crimson gave it a richness and lustre of the most attractive kind. John was determined to possess it; but the more he pushed, the further it receded. At length he was forced to go back to his rooms and improvise a wire ring attached to the end of a stick, with which, by dint of great care and skill, he finally drew the piece of china within reach of his hands. As he seized hold of it he exclaimed in triumph. At that moment the clock struck. It was out of the question that he should keep his appointment. The meeting was held without him. But how had the piece of china been broken into this remarkable shape?

A careful examination put it beyond doubt that the star shape was accidental, which made it all the more strange, and it seemed unlikely that there should be another such in existence. Set at the opposite end of the mantelpiece from the lump of glass that had been dug from the sand, it looked like a creature from another world – freakish and fantastic as a harlequin.

It seemed to be pirouetting through space; winking light like a fitful star. The contrast between the china so vivid and alert, and the glass so mute and contemplative, fascinated him, and wondering and amazed he asked himself how the two came to exist in the same world, let alone to stand upon the same narrow strip of marble in the same room. The question remained unanswered.

He now began to haunt the places which are most prolific of broken china, such as pieces of waste land between railway lines, sites of demolished houses, and commons in the neighbourhood of London. But china is seldom thrown from a great height; it is one of the rarest of human actions. You have to find in conjunction a very high house, and a woman of such reckless impulse and passionate prejudice that she flings her jar or pot straight from the window without thought of who is below. Broken china was to be found in plenty, but broken in some trifling domestic accident, without purpose or character. Nevertheless, he was often astonished, as he came to go into the question more deeply, by the immense variety of shapes to be found in London alone, and there was still more cause for wonder and speculation in the differences of qualities and designs. The finest specimens he would bring home and place upon his mantelpiece, where, however, their duty was more and more of an ornamental nature, since papers needing a weight to keep them down became scarcer and scarcer.

He neglected his duties, perhaps, or discharged them absent-mindedly, or his constituents when they visited him were unfavourably impressed by the appearance of his mantelpiece. At any rate he was not elected to represent them in Parliament, and his friend Charles, taking it much to heart and hurrying to condole with him, found him so little cast down by the disaster that he could only suppose that it was too serious a matter for him to realize all at once.

In truth, John had been that day to Barnes Common, and there under a furze bush had found a very remarkable piece of iron. it was almost identical with the glass in shape, massy and globular, but so cold and heavy, so black and metallic, that it was evidently alien to the earth and had its origin in one of the dead stars or was itself the cinder of a moon. It weighed his pocket down; it weighed the mantelpiece down; it radiated cold. And yet the meteorite stood upon the same ledge with the lump of glass and the star-shaped china.

As his eyes passed from one to another, the determination to possess objects that even surpassed these tormented the young man. He devoted himself more and more resolutely to the search. If he had not been consumed by ambition and convinced that one day some newly discovered rubbish heap would reward him, the disappointments he had suffered, let alone the fatigue and derision, would have made him give up the pursuit. provided with a bag and long stick fitted with an adaptable hook, he ransacked all deposits of earth; raked beneath matted tangles of scrub; searched all alleys and spaces between walls where he had learned to expect to find objects of this kind thrown away. As his standard became higher and his taste more severe the disappointments were innumerable, but always some gleam of hope, some piece of china or glass curiously marked or broken, lured him on.

Day after day passed. he was no longer young. His career – that is his political career – was a thing of the past. People gave up visiting him. He was too silent to be worth asking to dinner. He never talked to anyone about his serious ambitions; their lack of understanding was apparent in their behaviour.

He leaned back in his chair now and watched Charles lift the stones on the mantelpiece a dozen times and put them down emphatically to mark what he was saying about the conduct of the Government, without once noticing their existence.

‘What was the truth of it, John?’ asked Charles suddenly, turning and facing him. ‘What made you give it up like that all in a second?’
‘I’ve not given it up,’ John replied.
‘But you’ve not the host of a chance now,’ said Charles roughly.
‘I don’t agree with you there,’ said John with conviction. Charles looked at him and was profoundly uneasy; the most extraordinary doubts possessed him; he had a queer sense that they were talking about different things. He looked round to find some relief for his horrible depression, but the disorderly appearance of the room depressed him still further. what was that stick, and the old carpet bag hanging against the wall? And then those stones’ Looking at John, something fixed and distant in his expression alarmed him. he knew only too well that his mere appearance upon a platform was out of the question.

‘Pretty stones,’ he said as cheerfully as he could; and saying that he had an appointment to keep, he left John – for ever.

(Cfr. Virginia Woolf, Selected Short Stories. 2011 Clays Ltd.)

http://www.agenda19892010.wordpress.com

 

 ΤΟ ΑΔΕΙΟ ΠΑΝΩΦΟΡΙ

 

      Νύχτωνε, καί στό παλιό σπίτι κατοικούσαν μόνο οι σκιές, “θεία

Ευδοκία, τής είπα, τώρα πρέπει να σοβαρευτείς, είσαι πεθαμένη”,

μά εκείνη είχε το ίδιο αμήχανο χαμόγελο, όπως τότε, όταν έκρυβε

κάτι πού δέν έπρεπε ακόμα νά μάθω,

      ο άγνωστος μάς διηγόταν σημεία καί τέρατα, εγκλήματα εδώ

καί αιώνες, είπε καί γιά μιά μύγα, στό παιδικό τζάμι, πού τής

έκαψε τά φτερά, “από τότε στέκει εκεί καί δέ μ’ αφήνει” κι έδειχνε

πέρα, μακριά, τό δρόμο πού δέν μπορεσε νά πάρει,

      η ξενοδόχα, έλεγαν, έκλεβε κρυφά τά πτώματα καί τά έθαβε

στά ντουλάπια, έτσι τό ξενοδοχείο είχε πολλή κίνηση, γιατί έβρισκες

πάντα κάποιον πού νά μή σέ διώχνει — κι ούτε κατάλαβα όταν

μού βύθισαν τό μαχαίρι, σάν νά μήν ήμουνα εδώ ποτέ μου, κι

απλώς είχαν κρεμάσει ένα πανωφόρι στό κενό.

      Καί κάθε τόσο ένα πουλί έπεφτε από ψηλά νεκρό, καθώς χτυπού-

σε πάνω στήν απαγορευμένη πόρτα.

 

 

THE EMPTY COAT

 

      Night fell and in the old house only the shadows remained, “aunt

Eudokia, I said to her, be serious, you are dead now”

but she retained the same awkward smile, like back then when she hid

something which I wasn’t allowed to know as yet

     the foreigner narrated stories of signs and wonders, ancient old

murders, he also talked about a fly on the child’s glass and that he burnt

its wings “since then it stands there as if to punish me” and he pointed

far away to the road he never took

     the hotel woman, some said, robbed the cadavers, she then buried

them in the closetσ so that hotel was always busy because you always

found someone who wouldn’t ask you to leave—and I never felt it

when they pushed the knife in my body, as though I’ve never existed

and they had simply hanged an empty coat over the void.

     And often enough from above a bird would fall dead as it bumped

onto the forbidden door.

 

 

Τάσος Λειβαδίτης-Εκλεγμένα Ποιήματα/Μετάφραση Μανώλη Αλυγιζάκη

Tasos Livaditis-Selected Poems-Translation by Manolis Aligizakis

www.libroslibertad.ca