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]

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