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

Poem by George Theoharis



She let her last breath in bed at the end of the century. During her last year of her life her memory gradually left her leading her to the starting point. She became again the little girl who she always was. She shrank into a handful of a person due to the absence of the fluids of robustness dressed in her freshly washed nightie, she was happy for a sprig of basil you would offer her or by giving her the chance to narrate incoherent stories.

She let her last breath having reached her ninety-three years. Just before she died she turned and said to her son who was by her side “I was born in Syros in 1906. I remember the day Halley’s Comet pass by the Earth. We had peas and small fried fish. They were forcing me to eat, but I wanted to see the comet, dad.”

When she closed her eyes and with the commotion that was created among the relatives who waited for her, her not yet forty days old grandchild started crying.

And if this story seems a bit melodramatic and if the question arises “for what reason a normal life deserves its place in art?” I wonder: “why the normal life of the kind Mrs. Irene Karvonis doesn’t deserve it, when among other things, she managed to finally answer the merciless question of “what shall we cook today?”

Tasos Livaditis – Poems, Volume II


If I reached so far it’s because I didn’t want to
           realize that they didn’t answer me
and ah, I wasted time in the roads following this or that
           inheritor and an unspecified hour
when everything will be explained without words or
           when we won’t exist;
when I finally returned the city was plundered, wagons
           were pushed aside,
the uprising was part of the past and all who were standing
           kept on shooting
for a small trophy at the countryside shooting range
and, at night, “what time is it”? You ask, “eight” they
answer; we survive with such wretched uncertainties and
no one saw the crime since the perfect murder took place
where nothing could occur anymore. However I was impatient
like one who opens his umbrella in dry weather (perhaps
           because he doesn’t want to forget)
or someone who dresses as a woman so he can still say
           a childish lie
then, don’t be unjust to me if I closed my eyes: it was to
           defend the world
or I remembered mother’s hands as she put the broom
behind the loosened door perhaps securing something
while the cemetery, on the other side of the road, rustled
softly like the epilogue of a mystery.

Vladimir Martinovski, Δύο ποιήματα

To Koskino

Το αληθινό νερό

Χαμένος σε λαβύρινθο με ράφια
μιας αχανούς αγοράς στο Πεκίνο
τα λόγια του ταξιτζή θυμήθηκα:

Δεν υπάρχει αμφιβολία: ο Θεός
έφτιαξε τον κόσμο αλλά τα υπόλοιπα
γίνονται στην Κίνα

“Και εδώ τα πουλάν”, σκέφτηκα
αντικρύζοντας τα όρη
με τα ομοιώματα ακριβών προϊόντων

που για λίγα γουάν
μπορείς να αγοράσεις. Έπεσα
έτσι τυχαία σ’ ένα

άνορακ στο χρώμα πράσινο ελιάς
μάρκας γνωστής. Για να με πείσει
φθηνά να τ’ αγοράσω

και ν’ αποδείξει πως ήταν αδιάβροχο
η πωλήτρια το έβρεξε
με το νερό του ποτηριού της

Κάποιες σταγόνες στο μέτωπο με βρήκαν
κι άλλες έπεσαν κάτω.
Το νερό είναι αληθινό, μου είπε

Αγόρασα το άνορακ και το φορώ
– κι όχι μονάχα στο βουνό. Το φορώ επίσης
όπου υπάρχουν βουνά

από κούφιες κολακείες και χτυπήματα στους ώμους.
Το φορώ ανάμεσα σε ψευτοπροφήτες
και τους φαφλατάδες με τις ατέρμονες δημηγορίες:

να μισείτε τον κόσμο όλο, τους γείτονες
ιδιαίτερα, γιατί…

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