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

Poem by Kiki Dimoula


Now that my old visions

have vanished far away into the seas

and their shape can’t reach me

and their memory has left me

I haven’t ever wished

to return to such thoughts

yet during

some endless nights

and almost tirelessly

my old visions

from the far away seas

I recall

Wheat Ears – Selected Poems

Poem from the book EL GRECO

Red Carpet

Like a red carpet I lay my heart

before all the ethereal fleshless

images which you have graced

with life.

in front of your fiery passion

for greatness, charisma which

transcends the ephemeral,

the only means you need.

Great grandfather were men

the same in your days?

How did your Cretan glance

embrace them?

How did the Cretan sun

which you carried in your heart

shine on them?

Your ever enduring masterpieces

your endless inspiration but a

witness to your splendorous vision,

to your celestial fervor.

A witness to your

relentless effort to unfold,

one by one, man’s

heart like the petals of a rose.

A witness to your

undying yearning to transcend

one by one the layers

of a man’s caged substance.

Step by step on the ladder upwards.

Less flesh forward:

spirit only.

Wheat Ears – Selected Poems



The morning star can never shine

as you when you appear, joy-giving lass

nor does the green clover have as much

as you have freshness on your sweetened lips

nor do the flowers of narcissus have

such fragrance as your lightest breath

nor does the bird know how to sing such

sweet songs as your inventive lips.

One only it can’t learn—to sing I love you

and for this, I dare to say, another soul may die.

Wheat Ears – Selected Poems


Why stand by your door

gazing the mountain

as if trying to paint it green

on the retinas of your eyes

and the light breeze how can

you paint it when you’re

blinded by emotion?

To what end do you point

your hand at the ice caped

peaks as if to let them know about

the ghosts never passing by

anymore, as if to tell them that

spring is coming soon

when they exude green velvet

when they redress in light hues?

Tasos Livaditis – Poems, Volume II


     Στο βάθος, όμως, ήξερα πως κάτι το απροσδόκητο θα τα μα-

ταίωνε όλα ξαφνικά, κι όταν τους άκουγα να μιλάνε, ένιωθα σαν

να μην είχα μεγαλώσει ποτέ, τόσο ήταν αδιάφοροι (κι έπρεπε να το

προφυλάξω και κανένα μέρος δεν ήταν ασφαλές), κι όπως πήγαινα

στο δρόμο, έρημος, άπλωμα το χέρι χωρίς να `ναι κανείς, γιατί

ποιος μας λέει ότι δεν είναι κάποιος εκεί που περιμένει, τότε χτύ-

πησαν την πόρτα “πως ήρθες;” του λέω, ήταν ένα παλιός παιδικός

φίλος “έχω κάτι να τελειώσω ακόμα” είπε κι όλη τη νύχτα άκουγα

τους λυγμούς του στη διπλανή κάμαρα, γιατί είχε πεθάνει πολύ

νέος κι ήρθε να κλάψει, ώστε να τελειώσει ο προορισμός του

πάνω στη γη.


     In reality I knew that suddenly something unforeseen would had

cancelled everything and when I heard them talking I felt as if I hadn’t

grown at all so indifferent they were (and I had to protect that and

there wasn’t any safe place anywhere) and as I walked into the street

I, as desolate as ever, stretched my arm to no one because who knows

whether someone would be there waiting; then the doorbell rang “why

you returned?” I asked him; he was an old childhood friend “I still

have something to finish” he said and all night long I heard him sobbing

in the next room because he had died very young and he had come

back here to cry that his purpose on earth would be fulfilled.

Katerina Anghelaki Rooke – Poems


Next to the bed by the wall

marks of a girl

playing with the warn stucco

sometimes a person’s face

sometimes a ship

foretells the future

the fairy with the seven fingers dances

the serpent, the old nail

tie the tale together.

Turned to the wall

friendship with an unknown

tears for a death

— always a sudden death,

mine, my mother’s —

and flowers, a lot of flowers

in the remote chapel by the rock

solemn promise to Alexander the Great

and to the other saints…

the dream, but a yellow wall

and the incisions talk to children

and frighten the adults.

Wheat Ears-Selected Poems


And Themis was put in a dark dungeon

while I faced my kin’s delirious eyes

yet, though I had much to say,

I kept silent, momentarily, to give

time to their simple-mindedness 

bubbling along with the creek’s murmur

innocent smile of child upon which

I entrusted my hope to rediscover justice

with spring flowers rejuvenating

the veins of impeccable Eros

my distraught friends remained imprisoned

and I, dressed in rags, walked over the lands,

and being soft-spoken and with new symbols

with new follies and  new anecdotes,

I tried to revert the beliefs of

new Judases born with sharpened teeth

ready to devour each other

nothing to leave for the winds

the rightful inheritors of my teachings

Yannis Ritsos-Poems, Selected Books, Volume III

YANNIS RITSOS-POEMS, Selected Books, Volume III


Εκείνη δε ρωτούσε πια. Χαλάρωνε τα δάχτυλα της. Έστρεφα πίσω.
Οι δυο μας, πρόσωπο με πρόσωπο. Το δροσερό μάγουλό της
πάνω στο μάγουλό μου· κι όλο το χαμόγελό της — της το άρπαζα κι έτρεχα
με κυνηγούσε ολόγυρα στο σιντριβάνι.
Κάποια νύχτα
μ’ έπιασε επ’ αυτοφώρω η μητέρα: «Με ποιόν κουβεντιάζεις;».
«Κυνηγούσα τη γάτα μη φάει τα χρυσόψαρα», αποκρίθηκα. «Ανόητη»,
είπε η μητέρα· «δεν εννοείς να μεγαλώσεις». Κείνη τη στιγμή,
όντως η γάτα τρίφτηκε στα πόδια μου. Ένα μεγάλο χρυσόψαρο
τινάχτηκε έξω από το σιντριβάνι. Το άρπαξε η γάτα
και κρύφτηκε μες στις τριανταφυλλιές. Φώναξα. Την κυνήγησα —
(τρόμαξα μη μου φάει το ’να χέρι της σελήνης) — κι η μητέρα με πίστεψε.

But it wouldn’t ask me again; it would release its fingers

a bit; I’d turn around; we were face to face. Its fresh cheek

on my cheek and I’d take all its smile and run away;

the moon would chase me around the fountain.

One night mother caught me on the spot. Who you’re

talking to? I was chasing the cat away from the goldfish,

I answered, foolish, mother said, you’ll never grow up.

At that moment the cat indeed rubbed itself on my legs.

A big goldfish jumped out of the fountain. The cat

grabbed it and hid among the roses. I yelled. I chased

the cat. (I was afraid the cat would eat one hand of

the moon) and mother believed me.

Constantine P. Cavafy


Είπε ο Μυρτίας (Σύρος σπουδαστής

στην Αλεξάνδρεια επί βασιλείας

αυγούστου Κώνσταντος και αυγούστου Κωνσταντίου

εν μέρει εθνικός, κ’ εν μέρει χριστιανίζων)

«Δυναμωμένος με θεωρία και μελέτη

εγώ τα πάθη μου δεν τα φοβούμαι σα δειλός.

Το σώμα μου στες ηδονές θα δώσω

στες απολαύσεις τες ονειρεμένες

στες τολμηρότερες ερωτικές επιθυμίες

στες λάγνες του αίματός μου ορμές, χωρίς

κανέναν φόβο, γιατί όταν θέλω—

και θάχω θέλησι, δυναμωμένος

ως θάμαι μέ θεωρία καί μελέτη—

στες κρίσιμες στιγμές θα ξαναβρίσκω

τό πνεύμα μου, σαν πριν, ασκητικό.»


Said Myrtias (a Syrian student

in Alexandria, during the reign

of Augustus Constans and Augustus Constantios,

partly pagan, partly Christian);

“Strengthened by theory and by study

I shall not fear my passions like a coward.

I shall give my body to carnal delights,

to the pleasures we dream about,

to the most daring erotic desires,

to the lascivious urges of my blood, without

any fear, because, whenever I choose,

and have the will, strengthened

as I shall be by theory and by study—

at the critical moment I shall find

my spirit, as it was before, ascetic.”

Wheat Ears-Selected Poems


You step in it and dream

of majesty and lofty deeds

and you

paint its inside walls red

and the outside in whitewash

to reflect translucent auras

your musings, ice crystals

you invite friend to share

wisdom, maturity, faith

as the whole world

fits in it while you stick out


she embraced the ferryman

on her way across the water

you call it your house though

it is everyone else’s