Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Shadows of Birds: 16-24

Yannis Ritsos

The field covered
with small yellow apples
the shadows of birds pass
over the apples
old newspapers
float on the river
among the ducks
and opposite the mountain
in love—
I shall arrive.

They stare at others
they glance at him
the town is pale
barbers grocers
stationers painters
two dancers
like one huge electric refrigerator
each and every night.

You went away
the night
flooded with horses
red and black ones
coffee-colored ones
and one that was white
entirely white.

The moon had
covered your hair
with golden leaves
I took them
secretly placed them
beneath my pillow
I didn't go to bed
I undressed your shadow.

Where did all these bubbles come from?
they burst on your fingertips
they left letter shapes
and other designs on my papers
a few like tiny television
one like a statue in a park
of a young pianist.

He bends one knee
lights five matches
led us astray
nevertheless I
have my shoes
well polished
I retreat before
he witnesses his victory.

Evening bar
dimmed lights
tall stools
a paper bag
of violet peaches
a red hand
on the nape of my neck
precisely because of this
I listen much more deeply
to music.

Clop clop clop
the stars fall down
General Kolokotronis on his horse
Kolokotronis at Palamidi Castle
A stone rolled into the sea
made a great splash
the door opens
I go inside
and stand before your portrait
I take off my shirt.

Mutual forgetfulness
he and death
after the rain
the women went out
to gather snails
they cooked them
for their supper
through the sky light
a yellow cloud entered
I didn't say a word.

Athens—May 8, 1980

from The Shadows of Birds (1980) [Collected Poems: IDelta ---pg 349-353]

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