Ναι, ζήσαμε κάποτε στα μικρά κάτασπρα σπιτάκια

με την ασβεστωμένη μάντρα και της κληματαριάς

τον ίσκιο δίπλα στης λίμνης το τραγούδι, που όταν γυρίζαμε

απ’ έξω δεν βρίσκαμε μέσα στο σπίτι παρά των παιδικών μας

χρόνων την αγνότητα και στο διάδρομο ο καθρέφτης

με πρόσωπα που κοίταζαν αμήχανα σαν να `θελαν να βγούν

έξω απ’ τους τοίχους και να τρέξουν στο δρόμο.

     Αυτά τα πρόσωπα δεν τα γνωρίζαμε καθόλου κι όμως

πίσω απ’ την πόρτα το μυστικό που μοιραστήκαμε μας έγνεφε

διακριτικά, λες κι ήτανε αυτό ο μάρτυρας όλων μας των κρυφών

νοημάτων, των σκοτεινότερων σκέψεων που κολυμπούσαν

στο μυαλό μας: αβεβαιότητα και ατολμία νειότης, άσκοπη

θά `λεγα κι όμως το ξέραμε το μονοπάτι που αργότερα θα

παίρναμε και που θα μας έφερνε εδώ στ’ άσπιλο σκαλοπάτι.

~Μου αρέσουν εκείνοι που γίνονται ολόκληροι πνεύμα

 της αρετής γιατί μόνο έτσι θα μπορέσουν να περάσουν

 ανάλαφρα τη γέφυρα.


Yes, we lived, once, in the little white houses with

the whitewashed fence, the shade of the grapevine near

the lake’s song, though when we returned from faraway

we found inside the house nothing but our childhood

innocence and the hallway mirror with awkward

faces wanting to jump out and run to the streets

like wild animals. We knew none of these faces yet just

behind the door the secret we shared signaled to us

discreetly, as if it witnessed all our concealed messages,

our darkest thoughts, uncertainty and timidity of youth,

purposelessness I would say, yet since then we had known

the path we were to follow later which has led us here

before our mighty Hero.

I like those who become pneuma of virtue because only

thus they will be able to go as light as a feather over

the bridge.



Yannis Ritsos-Poems, Selected Books, Volume II


Step by step the tents on the hillside

straight to the sky

nailed on the rocks

staked by stubbornness

with the harpoon of the sun in their chests.

Days come and go. The stone doesn’t change.

Sometime a ship goes by, a cloud

leaving behind it a bit of a shadow

a small window open to the trees and to time.

Nothing changes;

nor does the heart or the stone.

Stone bed where we sleep

stone bread onto which we sharpen our teeth

stone hand onto which the night steadies its chin.

The wind doesn’t blow them away.

The sundown folds its red flag;

we’ll sleep with a stone between our teeth again

with the sea nostrils close to our ears.

Whatever may come now, comrades,

will find us with a bag on our shoulders

with all our heart in the bag

whirling our determination on the oath of democracy

as we whirl our finger in the button hole of our friend’s


not that we don’t have anything to say

but because we love him so much and it’s always

         like that

when we love we can’t talk

we play with a twig of wild olive tree in our hands

we scratch a name in the soil

always the same ready, always ready

always the name of Freedom.