Saturday, September 20, 2008

Lots: 6

Yannis Ritsos

Don't take too long
at the urinal
the others are waiting
by the roses.

from Lots (1977) [Collected Poems: IGamma ---pg 269]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lots: 5

Yannis Ritsos

Under the lamp
he lit his cigarette
the match wasn't visible
the statue's hair
turned blue.

from Lots (1977) [Collected Poems: IGamma ---pg 268]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lots: 4

Yannis Ritsos

A pregnant woman
at the window
below the window
the sea
with scattered lemons
with drowning victims.

from Lots (1977) [Collected Poems: IGamma ---pg 268]

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lots: 3

Yannis Ritsos

In the beginning the egg
in the end the bird
later the song

from Lots (1977) [Collected Poems: IGamma ---pg 268]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Lots: 2

Yannis Ritsos

Blue mountain
red river
the bird on the cloud
all lies we were told
all lies we tell.

from Lots (1977) [Collected Poems: IGamma ---pg 267]

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lots: 1

Yannis Ritsos

Colored yarn
on the floor
and the knitting needle
stuck in the wall—
you're too late.

from Lots (1977) [Collected Poems: IGamma ---pg 267]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 19

Yannis Ritsos

HOW LOUD the birds are when they talk in their sleep.

They're like children who cry out all night long deliriously their songs as though they were reciting them for an exam.

We can't sleep, we hear our songs like bees buzzing around the chamomile of the stars and around our hearts.

The grown ups say we are lazy.

But we know about work—we stay awake until dawn working the large blue field so we wouldn't have to miss the sun's garden over the garden's of men.

Even though they call us lazy, we know about fatigue, we know what it is to plow, from the beginning, the largest field that each day the nettles overgrow.

We know how very tired the small gold hands of the sun beams can get, building those joyous cities of flowers, with the open balconies of the roses, with the lofty bell towers of the lilies.

Others see only sun beams and flowers.

They don't know about our kind of fatigue or our tears.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 350]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 18

Yannis Ritsos

WHEN PANAGIA passed silently under the trees, no one heard her.

The dogs didn't bark in the courtyard.

Only crickets greeted her, and a large star struck like a chord of some unknown song that the children only heard in their sleep and turned from one side to the other smiling.

Today in the fields, small golden lilies came up and the shepherds who found them kneeled and prayed.

It's true, the old blind man's sight returned, and the crippled walked, and before the eyes that have shed so many tears and looked night directly in the face, a small almond tree burst into bloom.

And that same night their sleep became a swallow's nest built under the brace of an old church bell.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 349-350]

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 17

Yannis Ritsos

17. THE EARTH was watered with light. You can't tell the light and the earth apart.

We are our dreams.

The windows opened and the flowers marched in like a cheerful army with red drums and golden trumpets, coming back from yesterday's garden to today's kindness.

The fence was so covered in green, you could no longer see that it was a fence.

In Spring's blond braids small blue lilies sprang up.

And as much as they cried the day before yesterday, they remembered today that they're still young and they laugh because they cried.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 349]

Monday, September 8, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 16

Yannis Ritsos

MOTHER, don't be angry with us for not wanting to stay in the house.

The sun calls us out.

We'll dress you in a dress of roses knit by Spring herself using the tiniest beams of light for for needles beneath the almond trees. We'll set you in front of a mirror so you can look, laugh and get to know us.

Then little swallows will perch on your fingers, but still you won't laugh at this.

Mother, how can we roll away the stone blocking your door?

And yet, in the panes of our windows shines the painted face of dawn and all around like a frame the blossoming apple trees on the mountainside.

We jump out the windows.

The sky blossoms inside us smiling and wherever we stand we stand in all places.

Mother, why be so bitter, let's go into the garden so we can teach you to spell from our lesson books the alphabet of the sun and little by little you'll learn to read the flowers.

We'll toss you onto the back of a wild goose and your dress will flutter in the air like a banner high above the green fields.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 348-349]

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 15

Yannis Ritsos

WE DON'T love, at this time, the books with their verses like slim monks.

We do not love our distant cousins that arrive from the capitol and wear double vests and who always have colds.

We walk without shoes on the hot ground, undress beneath the plane trees and wrestle, we play war throwing stones, we release kites and bathe in the river together with the blackbirds and the partridges.

We have hidden a bumble bee in our school bag and listened to it buzz during arithmetic.

We hardly remain in the house an instant.

We go out to the fields and check our traps.

Upon the threshing floor the haystacks shine like naked breasts and the horses race at midday, trampling the ears of grain and getting lost in the woods.

When evening comes, the horses return to the farmyard tame and the lazy tortoises pick daisies in the silent fields.

The hour smells of sweat and retsina as the evening smoke rises over the roofs and we stayed on the road a while gathering stars to show our mother that we also did something and that their concern about our day was not in vain.

Still the grownups don't know what we look at , they don't know our harvest nor are they able to eat of our wheat.

Nevertheless we caress our mother's tired hands all the while watching, far off, the Great Bear in its golden pelt.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 347-348]

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 14

Yannis Ritsos

THE GIRLS lather the sun's head, and he curses like a spoiled boy when they thrust his head into the wash basin in order to rinse it.

Thousands of soap bubbles rise into the air, like tiny rainbows above the horizon of a spellbound butterfly.

The pigeons chase after the bubbles.

The light gestures, scolding the just waking swallows.

It's amazing the grownups remain asleep with so much racket.

We'll thrust a cicada under grandfather's nostril so he can smell our same spring and the end of his cane will bloom like a miniature cherry tree.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 347]

Friday, September 5, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 13

Yannis Ritsos

WE WILL use the globe, the one the teacher uses to teach geography, as a ball and roll it through the green countryside in the chamomile.

At night we climbed to the village cemetery and secretly looked for skulls, filling them with grasses and flowers.

In the empty eye sockets we placed two roses.

Now everything is bright and colorful.

Even if it wasn't summer according to the calendar, we knew it would soon be here.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 347]

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 12

Yannis Ritsos

THE WORLD is filled with flowers and birds.

Their light-hearted voices ring through the countryside.

Bells on the necks of donkeys.

Bells on the ears of the sun.

Bells on the points of leaves.

Bells on the braided hair of girls.

All dance in the light and ring.

Grandfather comes out into the sunshine and weaves out of green branches small baskets used to gather berries and pigeon eggs.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 346-347]

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 11

Yannis Ritsos

TODAY a young girl sang from the top of a poplar tree, sea ribbons in her hair.

Out of her song flew small birds, filling the courtyards and covering the roofs.

The birds sat on the shoulders of children.

Grownups, getting tangled in the sun's nets, staggered like hatchlings.

Roses went crazy, doing somersaults in the water.

O Christ, what drunken light, breaking on the window pane, flooding the rooms, not leaving a single shadow for mother to shade her eyes.

So she'll wave her handkerchief in the air and dance the dance she danced when she and father were young— an island dance with the scent of the sea and boats loaded with oranges.

Father will pretend to have forgotten the steps and smile as he strikes his heel in the air.

And we — children, birds, flowers and stones — will follow after them dancing, as far as the threshing floor of the sun, singing of those never-fading days when grownups danced with their children, the same dance every spring.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 346]

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Midday Summer Dream: 10

Yannis Ritsos

O CHRIST, why do you wear that long mournful dress and those thorns on your head? Wouldn't flowers be better?

Were you worried the door to heaven wouldn't open if you put poppies in your messed up hair?

Don't laugh because I have a bandage on my head.

I fell into the bushes the day before yesterday chasing butterflies.

Come, let's go to the field hand in hand like children and I will teach you to play the flute.

They wouldn't look good on you, those wrinkles on mother's face when she sets down her work for a moment and watches the new moon through the window.

Let's go cut your sorrowful hair. We'll use the large shears they use on sheep.

You'll see, God will love us. He'll let us sit at his feet. And He'll smile sweetly as we place daisies in his long mustache.

And when it gets dark, we'll hitch crickets to his tiny carriage and we will ride through paradise while the angels light the stars that shine down upon all the other children remaining below.

from Midday Summer Dream (1938) [Collected Poems: Alpha ---pg 345-346]