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


Political drunkenness has given me my life

and still enthuses me, attracts me, stirs my wonder.

It’s drunkenness, my dear, that fires my soul and makes me

ardent for my country, fierce to claim my right by any means

to transfer judges when I please, to hire my people

for all positions, and to expel my enemies.

I yearn to be the leader, call it my mania

but I live just for this, I only want to govern.

Why would I want to live if I can’t rule?

Why would I want a homeland if I don’t have the reins?

Let my homeland see me govern and let it go to waste,

let it call me its salvation and let it go to Hell,

let my legacy remain and let my homeland be vanquished.

Even nature craves its drunkenness in politics

and if nature wants it, why not I? What do you care,

you teachers of moralism? Do you think the ones

who rule use different measurements?

They all pursue my way, all follow my direction,

and to achieve their glory, push aside all others. 

Oh, my reverent religion, oh, please, come help me,

assist me to the throne, come help me, oh come and help

and introduce me to the crowds with palms and joy

that I become a proper Christian, a churchgoer,

to be voted winner in the first and only ballot

for any government position that I choose,

since I now bow before you, my only wish to follow you

and to be worthy of the leadership.

Even nature craves its drunkenness in politics.

It is nature’s wish, and what you say I have forgotten.

Yannis Ritsos – Poems, Volume II, Second Edition


The mountain, light-blue at the distance, rolls down

           to the sea;

two horses rest in the shade of the church building;

the endless day vanishes in its light.

When you clapped your hands five birds flew away

          from the trees;

you looked at them and forgot why you clapped:

perhaps in despair or was it perhaps a lone

clap for what you didn’t know?

Then, looking for what was to follow, you didn’t clap

again. Therefore is death so natural?

Κατερίνα Κατσίρη, Οι δολοφονημένοι ανοίγουν το χορό προτού…

To Koskino

Κάποιοι διαρρηγνύουν τα ιμάτιά τους φωνάζοντας
άθλιοι της γραμμής
άθλιοι φτωχο-υπάλληλοι
ταυτοχρόνως τινάζουν την ευθύνη απ’ το παλτό τους
που τραντάζει με σεισμό τα σύμπαντα

Ξεστομίζουν τη λέξη άθλιοι
και τα δυο τους χέρια τόσο βαθιά στο σύστημα…..
Καραδοκούν με λύσσα
και φανατισμό
τελείως να ξεπλύνουν τους φόνους
σαν να μην υπήρξαν

Ας γκρεμίζει γέφυρες τ’ όνομά τους
_ ποιος είπε ότι ένα στήθος φτάνει τον κόσμο να δολοφονήσει; _
ας σωριάζονται σπίτια
ας γίνεται ως πέρα μια μαύρη κατάμαυρη γραμμή
ο ουρανός

Άθλιοι βρωμεροί εξακοντίζω την κραυγή
που φτάνει ως το Χριστό
άθλιοι δολοφόνοι τόσων τρυφερών καρδιών
δεν ακούτε πένθιμο της σημαίας το τραγούδι;

Μαζέψτε τα κοπρόσκυλα
των εικοσιτεσσάρων ωρών
κάψετε τελείως τα υπουργεία δολοφονίας

ω βρωμερά πλυντήρια αυτών
οι σκοτωμένοι σαν αστακοί αρματωμένοι
ανοίγουν το χορό

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