Übermensch, poetry by Manolis Aligizakis


     Kι υποσχεθήκαμε ποτέ να μην τον αρνηθούμε

ούτε μια νύχτα, ούτε μια μέρα ή μια στιγμή

μήτε κι ακόμα όταν μιλούσε στο δέντρο που μόλις

είχαν κόψει ή στα πανάρχαια φαντάσματα

που πέταγαν συχνά μες στην ψυχή μας.

     Αστέρευτη η σιτοδεία βασίλισα της πείνας μας

αργά που εκύλησε η παιδική μας αθωότη σαν πάνω

στο υγρό καλντερίμι, και το μόνο που του ζητήσαμε

τη διδαχή να συνεχίσει και τ’ αρέσαμε που εδιαλέξαμε

θρύμματα να γίνουμε να μας φυσήξει ο αγέρας Του

στην αντιπέρα όχθη να περάσουμε. Τ’ αρέσαμε που

όλα τα περιφρονήσαμε ακόμα και το μυστήριο

της θυσία μας κι ο Υπεράνθρωπος εγέλασε κι είπε,

όλα καλά.’


And we promised never to deny Him not even

for a night or day, not for a single moment, even

when He spoke to the fallen tree or to those ancient

ghosts that often passed through our minds.

Endless famine of our race, queen of our bellies,

slowly crawled on wet cobblestones like our childish

innocence and we asked Him to continue His teaching

and He liked us because we chose to be scattered

into innumerable pieces that the wind may blow us

to the opposite shore. He liked us, because

we disdained everything even the secret for our

sacrifice. Übermensch smiled and said,

it was all good.


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

Poem by Manolis Anagnostakis


We shouldn’t complain, really

your company was pleasant and full of vigor:

freshened girls, wholesome boys

full of love for life and for adventures

and your songs were sweet and meaningful

very sentimental, humane

for the children who died over the other continent

for the heroes killed in past years

for revolutionaries with black, green, reddish skin

for the grief of every suffering man

this involvement especially an honour for you

for today’s problems and struggle

you always appear and you fight, therefore

I believe it’s your right to play

in groups of two or three at a time  

and to fall in love

to just relax, brothers, after such tiredness

(George, have you noticed we’ve aged prematurely?) 

Katerina Anghelaki Rooke – Selected Poems


I walked from the harbor

to the house so many times!

One returns from church and

always something obstructs his breath

the moon, the wind

or an unnoticed shrub that stirs.

From the harbor to the house

ten, eighteen year old

Mrs. Xanthi died

the kore vanished

the old house of the crazy woman fell in.

Toward the field at night

the familiar magical landscape

spreads inside me:

acceptance and revolution

always start on my soil