Monday, May 12, 2008

The Shadows of Birds: 34-38

Yannis Ritsos

The shadow of your body
upon the earth
takes up more room
than your body
I dress in your shadow
dark invisible
photographic negative—
tomorrow it will appear
all in white
with a black fingerprint
outside the frame.

They gather in his hair
winds bulls sparrows
an oak tree
its roots out of the earth
wind around his shoulder
cross the river
leaves fall from his lips
onto the water
cover up my reflection.

three porters
large timbers on their shoulders
with the sea in the background—
in secret fellowship
with the lights of the bar
with the departing ships
with the sad young boys
with the women in make-up
the one wearing
a long purple dress
is outlined keenly
on the white pavement
perhaps through a fault of my own
or for my own benefit.

Two old black pots
from a soldier's mess kit
among the nettles
near a heap
of white cuttlefish bones
and the shifty lizard
its one eye half-closed
is instructional
in this chance encounter.

Athens—May 12, 1980

from The Shadows of Birds (1980) [Collected Poems: IDelta ---pg 358-360]

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