Wheat Ears-Selected Poems


He opened the newspaper

under the light of the kitchen

he seek to brighten the news                                

of last night’s muggings,

break ins, murders.

After he took a deep breath

knowing he contributed

in beautifying the world

of this ugly modern city 

he put the coffee pot on

as if he had to go to war again

and needed his morning fix


Yannis Ritsos-Poems, Selected Books


Η Ελένη/Helen

Εγώ, όπως ξέρεις, διατηρούσα ακόμη την παλιά ομορφιά μου
σαν από θαύμα (αλλά και με βαφές, με βότανα και με πομάδες,
χυμούς λεμονιών κι αγγουρόνερο). Τρόμαζα μόνο να βλέπω στη μορφή τους
το πέρασμα και των δικών μου χρόνων. Έσφιγγα τότε τους μυώνες της κοιλιάς μου,
έσφιγγα μ’ ένα ψεύτικο χαμόγελο τα μάγουλά μου, σάμπως
να στέριωνα μ’ ένα φτενό δοκάρι δυο ετοιμόρροπους τοίχους.

And I as you know I still had my former beauty

as if by a miracle (but also with tints herbs and salves

lemon juice and cucumber water) Though I was just terrified

           to see in their faces

the passing of my own years At times like that I tightened

           my belly muscles

I tightened my cheeks with a false smile as if

steadying up two crumbling walls with a thin beam