Friday, July 18, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 9

Yannis Ritsos

TONIGHT we fall asleep in Spring's lap, resting our head against her heart.

We hear heartbeats and birds breathing in our sleep.

In the morning, when we wake, we see the sky strolling about our room like a bird of blue with golden eyes feeding on leftover bread crumbs of shadow.

Then, in a flash, we wash and get ready for the day.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 345]

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 8

Yannis Ritsos

AT NIGHT the almond trees pass beneath our windows slow and sad in their white dresses, like those pale girls from the orphanage returning from a short, Sunday outing, nearly asleep, holding hands two by two, not speaking, not looking up to the stars sprouting one by one in the shadows, distant and happily.

Tomorrow we'll tell the almond trees to go to the beach and wash the dust of our sadness from their faces.

In the evening, when they return cheerful, they'll give us our first words washed clean in the sea, and we'll cry in the open windows for the joy of being able to cry.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 344]

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 7

Yannis Ritsos

WE SLEPT when we weren't tired. We ate when we weren't hungry.

We kept time using the wristwatch given to us on our name day, forgetting the clock of the garden that always pointed to summer.

Now we want to place the wristwatch close to our pulse, checking the time when the hour hands of shadow begin to point across the golden green face of the lawn.

There's still time for us to cut some poppies so our hands won't grow old within the monasteries of books.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 344]

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 6

Yannis Ritsos

LIKE the heart of a tiny swallow that trembles in the palm of daybreak your memory begins along with the first green leaf.

You remember how you sat and stared into the large round eyes of grazing cows, seeing a miniature rural landscape: the plain like a vast green tray, the small church with cypresses, the white arc of doves over the forest, the harvesters with bundles of wheat and with yellow handkerchiefs.

You didn't know the architecture of the roses, nor the mechanics that birds used to traverse the sky.

You simply said good morning to the roses and to the birds, as you might say good morning to girls.

Then daisies opened small windows and leaned out over the sills to greet the morning as it passed down the street without the burdens of shadow and memory.

Later on, you learned to greet people by taking off your hat, and to say "Thank you" to the flowers only when there was no one around to hear you.

You wished to grow up quickly, to put on long pants, to learn to write so you could stop saying "Thank you," to construct a rose where a sad ray of light sleeps in an empty arch of fragrance.

Now you ask to deliver once more over the same lip that same "Thank you" after so many years of forgetting it.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 343-344]