Katerina Anghelaki Rooke, Selected Poems


In the moldy garden

water flows again

from the stony mouth of Poseidon

and the undefeated frog

prepares its new generation

over the solemn fossils.

Ah, yes sweetness unexpectedly

overflows the same way

the fountain rises again

among its watery suns

while my soul

unprepared squirrel

shades itself with its tail.

And as the park becomes slowly alive

and the owls stir

in their dark offices

and the thunderous dancing water

inside the silent rocks

of the closed house

like a stately residence — my life

turned alive again

by the talkative waters

you poured in my mouth.  



Wheat Ears – Selected Poems


Finally they called the joy a sin

and my agreement with you a transgress

what did they leave for us

other than mediocrity and

leaden clouds? What did they

leave other than their laws

written on desolate cenotaphs?

Finally they named our joy a sin

and our understanding another trespass

but they failed to see through

the veil to immense brightness

of our strength They couldn’t cut

beyond the rind they couldn’t taste

the sweetness of our love


Tasos Livaditis – Poems, Volume II



A city among thousands of other cities on earth

with houses, roads, monuments

the passing musicians, cemeteries, the crazies

the ones who run after bread and others who run

          after their dreams

with those who keep silent, those who postpone,

          those who betray,

with their imposing temples and the small, remote


like forgotten, foggy corners of a humble paradise

with the naked people, the traitors, the egoists,

             the notary public

with the tears and the serious decisions taken

             during the night

with the smiles and the little daily compromises

a city swallowed by dust and commotion and

             lights and dreams.


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


I saw a far-off country in my peaceful dream,

a land whose beauty no soul can describe,

that seized my mind and made me leave my meager village

and promised myself I there alone would settle.

A foolish youth I started, spellbound by the beauty

of my dream, and passed through lands hemmed in by water

and others clothed with shining plains and hillsides,

but still the land I longed for receded, always further off.

The passersby I met urged me to settle.

This is a beauteous land, stay here, they said.

Yes, I replied, your land is good, my friends,

but not the one I dream of, which is far away.

Leave me to travel slowly,

alone to pass the plains and mountains.

Perhaps one day I’ll reach it but even if I don’t,

don’t ever ask me, brothers, anywhere to settle.


Wheat Ears – Selected Poems

New World

Here I enter the world

of an immortal as the trees

on the other side of the river

meditate their good fortune

slight shiver through my spine

as your wonders smile and

the chair you once sat laments

as the ruffle of the air

sings of your Death to the

lonely hawks and to the pious

peasants. You put your hand

on the anvil once again and

a sweet babble overtakes

my heart water in the river

sighs as the realm of

spirit opens like a rose and

rudimentary sound of order

hovers in a young, blue

universe which you create

with your ambitious brush.

In the realm of nascent pathos

where does the line mark

my flesh or your flesh Great Father?

Your celestial new world appears as

a humble resonance echoing

to the ends of space and

in the tympanums of my dreams

the night weeps in fairy tales

of the laughing children and

it all makes sense now, yes,

in the eyes of your Cretan sun

there is no ephemeral light

just immortality and your hand

as in a miracle guides your

brush to unfold reality like

the joyous heart of a child

it all makes sense now

deathlessness, chromatism

splendorous fusion of ethereal

with the invincible earthly


Yannis Ritsos – Poems, Volume II


The house was empty, full of expectation. He couldn’t

endure it; he closed the door behind him and went

                 to the street.

The door got unhinged and followed him. He could hear,

quite clearly, his door following him in the street, which

was quite flooded by lights, and he sensed the vertical

loneliness of the door on his back, and, behind the door,

he felt the empty house and its expectation. Then he


turned and letting his face lean against the door he

              started crying.


Übermensch, poetry by Manolis Aligizakis


     Ωχροί άντρες μας ακολούθησαν, ανεξήγητη αφέλεια,

αφού ούτε καν μπορούσαμε να βρούμε το δρόμο μας

δίχως τις οδηγίες Του. Η συγνώμη δεν είχε ακόμα εφευρεθεί

απ’ τους φανατικούς που κρατούσαν δαυλούς αναμμένους

κι όλοι μας νοιώσαμε πως είχαμε χαθεί στην προσπάθεια

να εξηγήσουμε το ανεξήγητο και να εντοπίσουμε ξανά

το για πάντα χαμένο όταν φτάσαμε στο νοσοκομείο

που βρήκαμε το γιατρό πάνω από ένα τραυματισμένο στρατιώτη.

Παρ’ όλο που ο χάρτης του ξεκάθαρα έδειχνε πως δεν υπήρχε

πια ελπίδα την τελευταία μάχη είχε σχεδόν χάσει, παρατηρήσαμε

την προσοχή του γιατρού στην κάθε λεπτομέρεια όταν

ο οδηγός μας έκλεισε τα μάτια του τραυματισμένου

στρατιώτη, έσφιξε το χέρι του γιατρού σαν ν’ απορροφούσε

όλο του τον πυρετό κι αφού εκράτησε ενός λεπτού σιγή του

είπε: ‘Εσύ είσαι γένος και συγγένειά μου, υπάρχω μέσα σου

κι εσύ μες την καρδιά μου σε θρόνο κάθεσαι σαν βασιλιάς’.


Pale men followed us, inexplicable stupidity, as

we were incapable of finding our own way without

a guide; mercy wasn’t invented yet fanatics

held torches and half lit icons and we all felt lost

in our quest to render the inexplicable explained

then we arrived at the hospital and found a doctor

leaning over an injured soldier. Although the injured

soldier’s chart clearly showed there was no hope, he had

already lost his last battle, we observed the attention

of the doctor to every possible detail of the stats when

our leader closed the dead soldier’s eyes, shook

the doctor’s hand as if taking in Him all the doctor’s fever

and He said: ‘you are my brethren and kin, I dwell

in you and you sit in my heart like a king on his throne.’


Tasos Livaditis – Poems, Volume II


When the siege started the seer said it quite clearly: “beware
     of silence;”
thus we fought while we yelled unceasingly; the drums and
    the horns never stopped
while at night we stirred the women to lament over
    the dead
so much so that sometimes one of the dead got annoyed
    and stirred.
Until the enemy conquered the city with the next waning moon. 
Then what about the seer? Oh, why the ambiguous words
    of the gods?
Truly lost in the futile noise, silence finally won over us.

Yannis Ritsos – Poems, Volume III

The Garden at Dusk

He noticed the garden through the back door railings;

The gardener, on a ladder, was gathering fruit;

further away a girl with a basket had her eyes closed

and a book on her knees. At the far end the houses

looked rosy in the dusk. Only the kitchen window was

lighted. Someone from there called the girl. She got up.

The gardener felt so alone again, guilty, furtively happy,

since he had passed the whole garden under his arm

like a basket, hanging onto that internal voice that

deepened the whole evening; a basket full of leaves

and fruit  and the small golden knife among them.


George Seferis – Collected Poems



What were you looking for? You look like a stammer.

You had just gotten up

leaving the bed sheets to freeze

and the avenging baths.

Drops of water flowed on your shoulders

on your belly

your feet bare on the soil

on the cut grass.

Those, other three

the faces of the daring Hecate.

They tried to take you with them.

Your eyes, two tragic conches

and you had on the nipples of your breasts

two small purple pebbles—

things of the stage,

I don’t know.

Those three bellowed

you stood nailed to the ground,

their gesturing pierced the air.

Servants brought them knives;

you stood nailed to the ground,

a cypress.

They pulled the knives from the sheaths

and aimed for a place to stab you.

Then and only then you cried:

‘Let whoever wants to come and sleep with me,

am I not the sea?’