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]

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