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

Poem by Odysseus Elytis

VARIATIONS ON A SUNBEAM

RED

The mouth which is daemon word crater

food of the poppy blood of anguish

which is the great cumin of spring

your mouth speaks with four hundred roses

it beats the trees overwhelms the whole earth

pours the first shiver into the body.

Great fragrance of the finger multiplies my passion

my open eye hurts on the thorns

it isn’t as much the fountain that desires the two fowl-breasts

as the buzzing of a wasp on naked hips.

Give me the scar of amaranth the spells

of the girl who spins

the goodbye the I’m coming the I’ll give you

caves of health will drink it to the sun’s health

the world will be either the loss or the double voyage

here in the wind’s sheet there in the infinity’s gaze at.

Cane tulip cheek of concern

cool offspring of fire

I’ll throw May on his back I’ll squeeze him in my arms

I’ll beat May I’ll consume him.

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