Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Shadows of Birds: 29-34

Yannis Ritsos

Time passes
colors fade
already a swarm of bees
obscures your face
your breast
I hear the buzzing of bees
of their shadows
when it pierces the regularity
of the music.

We waited—
it was almost too late to shave
but he went to the bathroom
healthy good-looking
with wet hair
dishevelled only partly combed
shining here and there
perhaps from the gleam of the mirror
only at the very tip
on his left ear
a white dab of dried lather
betrayed our impatience
and his own guilt.

Kalamos—May 11, 1980

The young people stripped
stayed a while in the sun
then lunged into the sea
the day was a blaze
it no longer had
or telephone poles
on the only stone
a pair of black sun glasses
that nobody wore.

The boys grew
their clothes became so tight
the bloom of their bodies
was revealed—
in chance encounters
at night
on the lighted streets
after they had wished us a good evening
they acted as if they had sinned
or as if we sinned against ourselves
looking with bowed heads
at their brown shoes.

He now knew
the other didn't have to
wait alone for night to come
in front of the three statues
he threw his jacket on one
his pants on another
his shoes on the third
and naked he pretended to be
the perfect statue—
except for that small glint of saliva
at the corner of his mouth.

A small white shirt
forgotten in the changing room
the wasp's tiny earthen turret
on a column
the guard on Stadiou Street
took a sour apple
from his basket
bit it
stood looking at the sunset
from the last shuttle
I watched him
the wasp and I.

Athens—May 11, 1980

from The Shadows of Birds (1980) [Collected Poems: IDelta ---pg 355-358]

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