Yannis Ritsos – Poems, Selected Books, Volume II, Second Edition


So much we gazed at the sea, the people and

          in our hearts

that our mouths got filled with silence and our eyes

          with tomorrow

even if nothing seemed certain for us

children will certainly have orchards and toys

in their pockets, all that we never played,

women will certainly have

the shade of a small lilac

in every step they take

during the spring mornings

old men will certainly have a staff

which will bloom in the corner of the house.

For this we could still sleep

although fear coiled itself in our boots.

The moon, in the opening of the tent,

resembled a yellow censored pamphlet

yet we could read

even what was erased

what was never written

what no one can utter

as we read a green leaf in the spring

as we read Fitso’s apology in the eyes of the man

next to us and Alice Tsoukala’s few words,

as, in our bitterness, read the Moscow red square

with the parades of representatives from all the democracies

           of the world. For this we sleep in peace, leaning on the side of our heart

a window was opened behind our sorrow

our fear

a little branch outside our window

the bread

and our oath.

We notice our growing beards, nails, and hope.

Sleep, my comrade

I’m near you

here is my hand.

The sun is near us.



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