Posts Tagged ‘Translated from Greek by Manolis’

Manolis’s translation work titled ‘Yannis Ritsos – Poems’ (Libros Libertad 2010) was selected as one of the five best of the year by a California reviewer.

‘A careful hand is needed to translate the poems of Yannis Ritsos, and Manolis is the ideal poet to undertake such an enormous task’, the reviewer at Black Sheep Dances says, drawing parallels between Ritsos and Manolis. View it here:


Poetry Reading by Manolis
As the Featured Poet
Poetry in the Park
Wednesday, 13 July, 2011
7-9 PM
In the band shell at Queen’s Park
1st St & 4th Ave
New Westminster, BC V3L

Manolis will present readings from his latest collections of poetry ‘Vernal Equinox’ (Ekstasis Editions, 2010) and ‘Opera Bufa’ (Libros Libertad 2011). He will also read a selection of poems by legendary modern Greek poet Yannis Ritsos from the translated work titled ‘Yannis Ritsos – Poems’ by Manolis (Libros Libertad, 2010). Manolis has published over ten collections of poetry, each collection contemplating a different theme. View his published work here.

Manolis has presented his work to diverse audiences in Vancouver Lower Mainland and elsewhere in BC, Greece and Canada.

OPEN MIC will follow Manolis’s presentation, and there is an impressive line-up with Candice James, Ben Nuttel-Smith, Valerie Parks, Fauzia Rafique and Reese McBeth. So bring your poems, bring your friends and come on out to read and listen to poetry at one of the most beautiful parks in Canada!

Poetry in the Park is a summer program initiated by the Poet Laureate of New Westminster, Candice James, with the support of the Arts Council of New Westminister .
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Tranlsated by Manolis


Sometimes at night my loneliness is beautiful. It arouses my curiosity. I sit like a spectator before a play endlessly repeated. I try to enjoy it, what else can I do?
I go back to bed and there is where I meet my real suffering; a very soft one it doesn’t contain me a very long is so empty. I wish to rest, to relax but my mind plays strange games with me. It takes me once to the past once to the future. It exhausts me with its wants, its must, its why…


Oh my heart which words can I write for you that they may put you to sleep? Please make some room that I come and cuddle in your embrace to fall asleep like old times…Hidden paths appear in my eyes and make me smile. Scandalous girl full of agony for the pointless of those paths, I look around me as though afraid that someone
may be following me. I walk and talk about you. Oh my heart, what do I search for? Where is this path leading me?


There are sometimes when you feel that time has frozen, there are other times when you wish that it passes by hastily. Hopeless expectations in the compass of your mind and there are so many others so barren that keep you awake.
I met her at my nowhere; I recognized her as soon as our eyes met by chance and dictated the fate of the mind’s wanderings. The impossible seems as an earthly sight leading to the power of ‘wants’ and ‘musts’ firings that miss their fateful way.
I had no name, they called me something else. I had nothing to show but my mistakes, mistakes and passions at the crosshair of some perhaps moments of mine. The days simply trickled along and as a result the clock’s fingers moved according to their own time defined by chance and my false hours simply agreed to that passing.


I had so much to tell you! But at this time I would like to caress you, to look at you to vanish in the feeling of your hands, my hands. How can I place all these in these so small moments of time? How can I paint them with just two colors?
This garden is a refuge I grab God’s blessing and walk away. I take your hand I ask you to follow me to a walk deep in a green decorated labyrinth, fully lit, made by people of vision. Let me surround you with this moment in time. Let yourself in this route that is filled by reflections of the sun over us. We shall find our directions, oh my heart! Shall we be able to find the exit of this path?


I met her in my nowhere and the fire of her eyes turned into the terminus of my wanderings. It pierced my mind like an apparition that went inside and dug up my wants as though they were the simplest thing to do and I adorned what I found in her eyes that faint reflection that was my own. And for a moment I loved myself, in her, as I emerged from her eyes.
I could die for the moment I shared with her my heart pulsed harmoniously hearing her words and I bent in yearning for her touch. I wished time froze when I was with her I wished time wouldn’t pass I begged of the gods to not take her away from me, I wished she wouldn’t go but I remained always thirsty for her and I died instead of regaining life.


I talk to you. Do you hear me? A thousand silences a thousand words but a lot more emotions. Yes, you hear me. You hear the words emerging from my heart’s warmth. What can I do? Do I speak for both of us? Do I write for both? Can I breathe for both? One heart, so many pulses, so many lives gathered together here. The lives we once lived together and the ones we never lived.
You still follow me, you stand beside me, you never melted in my fire. I discreetly look at you. You can endure…Can you endure?


I whispered to her about the nights when my sobs become one with the sounds of the angry sky I gestured to her about my despair that ripped my flesh and about my battle that I couldn’t fight anymore. I whispered to her for everything possible but I never imagined that this creature of my fantasy would unravel so many things even to me unrecognizable. And I was charmed by the unexpected and I was angry at her soul that was dedicated only to me, that was all over me, spread, floating in the air. And I was angry at her intense ability that rebuilt and gave her many appearances.


You took me in your embrace and for a moment I closed my eyes. Oh my soul, I’m not cold anymore! For this short moment and with my eyes closed I am guided by you. I go by the forest that has been there since the beginning of time. I smell fragrances unknown to me I enjoy sounds that reach my ears I feel you next to me. Within all these I follow the path of your hands over me, ‘warm sensation full of lust’ you whisper.
—For me?
All the plans you dream off, once. But never dare admit to them for the second time. All the other dreams that you keep hidden inside you, you also see them only once standing before you that they bring sorrow when they never turn into reality. For a single moment you may see them before you, you may touch them faintly as they regain their flesh and blood, as they are you with their soul and with their characteristics they contain you. Entirely. Your soul that once was separated from the universe. Then it was just for a moment that both joined again, for one moment everything has a meaning, everything is colorful.


Eros turned into a ghost taking the form of the futility within me. My heart bled for her who didn’t enchant Fate, who didn’t fool time, who didn’t breathe for us, who never breathed for me.
Then anger was replaced by conditioning and it sunk in the bottomless wells of my mind without light or guidance, without body, without a heart. And I waited like a vulture I yearned for her first mistake, I counted on her mistake, I counted on that mistake and I waited.


Every step we take in this garden becomes a long trip. Every word you whisper to me turns into a thousand questions and a thousand answers that I give you. Different pleats of us I unfold.
I retain the feeling of your embrace in this moment. I refuse to open my eyes, I categorically refuse it. I want to turn the darkness of my eyes into images of your soul that accompany me while among the ugliness of people, that the images may keep me in an oneiric magical world and thus enchanted by the far and away creative world that I crave for, that I shall survive, that I shall live, that I shall breathe, that I shall fall in love.


Whatever I had thought of, whatever I tried to retain hidden deep inside me she uncovered with a simple touch. But how? How can a touch of her hand suddenly reveal the emotions I had so well hidden?
Yet, she touches my eyes and I get hypnotized, she cuddles in my breast and sobs rise from my soul loaded with every kind of sin and miracle existing just there. And that kiss of hers that has the taste of lotus, a magical lotus made by her just for me.
I want to stay with her for just one more moment, one moment before the end.


I turn today into tomorrow. I want the now to become eternity. There are some moments that you suffocate me with your love, your needs and your dark thoughts. Yes, I feel struggled but I survive before your need to kill me and then to resurrect me.
Sometimes I die, I delay in coming back. I prefer to remain in the void floating as though I don’t want to burden the earth. I want to rise up high, there from where I see everything small, insignificant. Up there one doesn’t need to breathe. There is none to listen to you. Up there you only feel, you don’t see anything. You observe as though you are a floating shadow that came from nowhere. The world appears as though different. The people appear as though they are different.


Oh my heart you have gone mad and you search for an alibi, and you went mad by your paranoid ego and wished to erase everything you truly had?
I don’t want this moment, you hear me? I want moments of a whole life next to you with your aura caressing me with your eyes painting worlds for us with your laughter gifted to me only.


Oh my little one you never lost me, don’t prod me. I’m here next to you, perhaps inside you. Do not turn my loss into pain. Do not search where you don’t belong. Smile, smile at me, that smile which you have on your face when you feel secure, calm that everything is going well, that I am me near you. I smile back at you. How can I resist at this awesome expression on your face? I bestow, I send my adoration to your wind. I lean over you that I taste that smile that exists only for me!


I met her in the nowhere and like an outcast I picked the crumbles she left behind as she went by. I fed on them and nourished my aging soul that was lost in my many mistakes
and self centeredness as the war within me was built up like an ancient epic and the Furies kept on ripping the flesh of my heart slowly tyrannically.
Forgive me…I shout but no one hears me. Forgive me I can not stand before the Paradise door and leave at every dawn again and again. Forgive me I can not remain the thief of your moments, the lover of futility, the killer of your soul.


Fateful is this love…Fateful it has become for us both…I can not accept it. No, I won’t accept its borders. I stare deep in your eyes, oh, my God! How it hurts me, indeed how it hurts! Us two, my joy, we don’t just want each other we want to live for each other’s breath, that us two become one is not enough. That we both breathe the same air, that we taste the same food that we see the same images are not enough. To sleep one sleep, to wake up in one breath, to speak with one mouth, to exist in the same sunrise, in the same high noon, the same afternoon, the same sundown and in the same night to reach our contention. One is manifold everything walks to its terminus. The terminus…which one is for us both?


I am the wrong color in your life’s painting, leave…do not look back…leave before I steal your last breath that you may have none left that you have none for anybody else.
I met her at my nowhere, I even denied her for a moment, for a single moment that can turn anyone into a madman so that you may want to kill all that is there for you. Because passion has a price and I was born too timid to endure it.


I saw my entire life in one single moment of every voyage, of every long night. I enjoyed it in that moment, I hated it at another; I accept it in another. I welcomed it every time. In fear I faced it, carefully I treaded it, I wrestled it with stamina, it almost wasted me at one time. I got horrified by the people. I started hating them, I started feeling them, I touched them, I learned of myself in the process. Number of times I lost the battle other times I won it. I died and rose from the dead after the every day’s knife wound. At night I found refuge in my angels’ arms who of being here for you.
Who are you? Have you really existed?


Loneliness…Don’t they call you that? You are my mate after all. I hope you exist only for me. I hope you leave every body else alone. I hope you only exist for me. You grieve only me. I’ll monopolize you. I’ll claim you. I’ll do what you do. Never leave you from my eyes. I’ll trap you in my thoughts I’ll wait for you in every street corner. I’ll appear before you and I’ll wave to you ironically, I’ll fool you, I’ll play with you, I’ll try to make you see me as a burden. I’ll become your nightmare, your shadow, your death!
In the people’s emptiness loneliness creeps and fills their silence. With sighs it reminds them that they are alive.
‘Look, you hurt, you are not dead! Yearn and hope and feel’


Konstantina Sandali’s first novel with the title “Angels released me” was published by Iolkos in 2010. She is responsible for the books column of the Electronic Newspaper She collaborates with the painter Katerina Kanelakou.

View this article in Greek

nostos and algos cover_300

Neighbour’s Yard

To the grass of the neighbour’s yard
always greener and fresher than mine
I reached with drum echoes
of a new April song

and you were left behind
waving the indifference of your surprise
that two tattooed dark breasts
struck the empty void
and soft ebony irises
of the standing female
rough and lustful at the same time
sang in harmony with my wish
for a new miracle and

for a gray drop of sperm

that fell on hairy mound

and you said—

I’ll stay here rooted like a tree
and the aroma of your aura
I’ll yearn for you
but only for an hour—

and I joined my hands behind my back
shrugging my shoulders
with a blind man’s indifference
before the just bloomed hyacinth

Ξένη Αυλή

Σε γρασίδι πράσινο ξένης αυλής
που πάντα δροσερώτερο
απ’ το δικό μου είναι
έφτασα με τύμπανα που βρόντηξαν
του νέου Απρίλη το τραγούδι

και παραπίσω στάθηκες
με μιαν αδιαφορία κι έκπληξη
που δυο στιγματισμένα μαύρα στήθη

χτυπήσανε κούφιον αγέρα
και τα γλυκά εβένινα μάτια
που στέκονταν εκεί νέας
τραχειάς και λάγνας ψάλανε
σε αρμονία με τόν πόθο μου
για το καινούργιο θαύμα
και την ασπρόθωρη σταλαματιά

σπέρματος που σε δασύτριχη έπεσε ήβη

κι είπες—

θα μείνω εδώ σα δέντρο ριζωμένη
και του αγέρα σου το άρωμα
θα καρτερώ, μα μόνο για μιάν ώρα—

κι ένωσα τις παλάμες μου στην πλάτη
σηκώνοντας τούς ώμους
με του τυφλού την αδιαφορία
μπροστά σε ανθισμένο υακίνθι
~Nostos and Algos, Ekstasis Editions, 2012

Translated from Greek by Manolis, excerpt

Let me come with you What a moon tonight!
The moon is good – it doesn’t show my
gray hair The moon will turn my hair golden again
You won’t see the difference
Let me come with you

When the moon is up the shadows in the house grow longer
invisible arms pull the curtains
an invisible finger writes forgotten words in the dust
on the piano – I don’t want to hear them Keep silent

Let me come with you
down the road to the brick factory’s wall fence
to the point where the road turns and the city
appears airy though made of cement whitewashed by moonlight
so indifferent and fleshless
so positive like beyond flesh
that after all you can believe you exist and don’t exist
that you have never existed that time and its ravaging never existed
Let me come with you

We shall sit on the ledge of the knoll for a while
and as the spring breeze blows on us
we may imagine we shall fly because
many times even now I hear my dress rustling
like the sound of two powerful wings flapping
and when you enclose yourself in this sound of flying
you feel firmness in your neck your ribs your flesh
and thus firmly put within the muscles of the blue wind
within the vigorous nerves of the height
it doesn’t matter whether you leave or return
and it doesn’t matter that your hair has turned gray
(this is not my sorrow – my sorrow
is that my heart hasn’t turned white)
Let me come with you

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.

From ‘Yannis Ritsos – Poems’ by Manolis, Libros Libertad 2010

View this poem in original Greek