Monday, November 10, 2008


Yannis Ritsos

Don't forget me—he said. I walked thousands of miles
without bread, without water, over stones and thorns,
because I wanted you to have bread, water, even roses. Beauty,
I never have forsaken it. My whole life I doled it out.
I even gave away my own portion. Utterly poor. With a small field lily
I lit our way through the wildest night. Remember me.
And please forgive this final sorrow: how I wish
to harvest one more ripe ear of corn using the thin
sickle of the moon. How I wish to stand at the threshold and look out
and chew on the wheat, grain-by-grain, with my front teeth
marveling at and blessing this world that I am leaving,
marveling at The One climbing the hill through the golden last light. Look:
on his good sleeve there is a purple patch—though barely
visible. How I wish more than anything to show you this.
And perhaps for this alone I'll deserve to be remembered.

July 30, 1987

This translation was first published in Luna: a journal of poetry and translation (vol 8)

from Negatives of Silence (1987) [Αργα, Πολυ Αργα Μεσα Στη Νυχτα ---pg 93-94]

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