Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Shadows of Birds: 8-15

Yannis Ritsos

I saw the shadow of the bird
I didn't see the bird
because it was within me—
c o m r —it said
c o m r a d e —I finished
it spoke to me
you and I
are alike.

You asked the water
you asked the tortoise
you knew
they wouldn't answer
your question that
they were the answer.

A bucket of dirty water
the mirror in the elevator
an umbrella
drops of blood on the marble—
so many gutted fish
the words they didn't speak.

The women weren't around
I cut a rose
and put it on my jacket
later in the evening
the women came back
I said your name inside me
I have the rose.

I wanted to say to you
I forgot
always I forget
that which I want
however the mirror
in the barber shop across the way
is blue
and the bicycler
jumped on his bicycle
and rode away with
this blue.

a rembetika song
the soldier
lights his cigarette
the woman
came back without a sound
things you can count on
even if you changed them around
they wouldn't change.

Surely they left the trowel
on the top step
on purpose
I didn't step on it
I opened the door
I opened the window
with the circus was across the way
the lion might hear me
if I whistled
therefore I'll be handsome
with a black watch
on my left wrist.

In his pocket
a tiny river
five green leaves
and the stolen lipstick
with which a girl
first colored
his lips.

Athens—May 7, 1980

from The Shadows of Birds (1980) [Collected Poems: IDelta ---pg 345-349]

No comments: