Reading Manolis Aligizakis’s translation of Ritsos’s poetry (Volume ll), I am struck by the undertow of longing that ebbs through Ritsos’s poems. There seems to be this heroic attitude of waiting for fulfilment, shadowing the events and circumstances Ritsos has chosen to focus his creative gaze upon. He seems to balance the frailty, anguish, and vulnerability he sees at the very heart of human nature with the defiant prospect of hope, and with the implied possibility of future wholeness. Though he never hesitates to decry and condemn the suffering caused by adversity and injustice, I think he modulates it as an inscrutable attribute whose redemptive meaning circles all the way back to the mythic forces inherent in creation. Perhaps like Job in the whirlwind, he accommodates the darkness of fate not only as a tragic flaw, but also as a divine element in the longing that saves.
Dramatically, I can imagine Ritsos sitting on a chair, center stage, against the back drop of a sun rising above the ocean, facing his audience— all those mortal men, women, children, animals and mythical aspects of an evolving self that sparked his awareness— then grinning defiantly, concludes with these final words: You are my advent. You are what I carry through the void. You are who I am.
This impressive and insightful translation by an equally creative and prolific poet, will continue to give voice to the silence we inhabit.