George Seferis – Collected Poems

Sirocco 7 Levante

For D.I. Antoniou

Things that changed our face

deeper than thought and more so

ours like the blood and more so

sunken in the sweltering heat of noon

behind the masts.

Amid chains and commands

no one remembers.

The other days, the other nights

bodies, pain and lust

the bitterness of human nakedness in pieces

lower than the pepper trees along dusty streets

and all these charms and all these symbols

on the last branch

in the shadow of the big ship

the memory, a shade.

The hands that touched us don’t belong to us, only

deeper, when the roses darken

a rhythm under the mountain’s shadow, crickets,

moistens our silence in the night

yearning for a pelagic sleep

slipping toward the pelagic sleep.

Under the shadow of the big ship

when the winch whistled

I left tenderness to the money-changers.

Pelion, 19 August 1935


Neo-Hellene Poets, an Anthology of Modern Greek Poetry 1750-2018


       Καμιά φορά τα βράδια, ιδιαίτερα όταν βρέχει, ο νους μου τα-

ξιδεύει — πιο συχνά στα παιδικά μου χρόνια. Και τότε ξεπροβάλλει

ο καθηγητής του βιολιού. Φορούσε μια ξεθωριασμένη ρεντικότα και

μια περούκα μαδημένη — γελούσαμε μαζί του. Αλλά όταν μετά το

μάθημα έμπαινε η μητέρα στην κάμαρα (για χάρη της ίσως) έπαι-

ζε κάτι διαφορετικό — μια μελωδία ήρεμη και σοβαρή που μας

έκανε να σοβαρευόμαστε κι εμείς άξαφνα, σα να μαντεύαμε αόριστα

ότι στο βάθος η μουσική δεν είναι πάθος ή όνειρο, νοσταλγία ή


      αλλά μια άλλη δικαιοσύνη.


     Sometimes, especially at night when it rains, my mind

travels, quite often to my childhood years. Then the violin

teacher appears. He wears a faded morning coat and his

dishevelled hair piece; we laugh at him. When my mother

enters the room after the lesson(for her perhaps) he plays

something different; an harmonious and solemn enough

melody that we suddenly get saddened as if vaguely

guessing that at depth music isn’t passion or dream,

nostalgia or reverie

    but a different kind of justice.

Wheat Ears-Selected Poems


Hesitant moonlight entered

to sit on the night table

outline of her conflagrated body

lain on the deserted bed

autumn breeze

a shameless raider

sneaked through

the half open window

to observe her two thighs

softly rubbing against each other

two fingers travelled over

her wet mound

involuntary conspiring wind

and window shutter

created the sorrowful creak

that brought her to consciousness

heart pulse bounced off

the gleaming mirror to fall

dead onto the carpet crying

unfair life even this dreamy

pleasure you denied me.

Wheat Ears-Selected Poems


Before I entered the uterus

I was there

smoke of a fire slowly


wind hitting your blue window

crack of your being

a tight grip

song of the funeral procession

before I took the shape of life

before I choose my name

I was there

scent of a red rose

the bird’s first flutter

before I entered

the trap of flesh

the softest wave of the sea

I was the lone eagle

on rocky promontory

from high up watching

over you, before I was born

I was the shapeless

free companion of infinite

a simple sigh destined

to scar your lips

There I was

a joyous chime of a bell

there I was

the indeterminable