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


He held the shadow of his hands in his hands.

It was a calm night, others couldn’t see that he was holding

            his shadow.

He empowered the night. He was careful. He paid more

            attention to others than to himself.

The sea still searched for his eyes. He was absent.

A little girl was buttoning her coat slowly;

he was looking elsewhere as he enjoyed the great


Perhaps a skylight was opened up high in the starlight which

was flooding the olive tree grove and the burnt up houses.

He was listening to the butterfly that returned into the glass

           of the All Souls Saturday

and to the fisherman’s daughter who was grinding the quietness

           of the coffee.



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