Friday, December 12, 2008

Simple and Incomprehensible

Yannis Ritsos

Nothing new—he says. Men are killed or simply die.
Teeth, hair, hands, mirrors—they grow old.
The lamp's glass chimney broke—we patched it with newspaper.
Worst of all, by the time you learn something is worthwhile, it's already passed. Then
an immense silence. Summer arrives. Trees
turn tall and green—oh so provocative. Cicadas cry out.
In the evening, the mountains turn blue. And from them,
men of shadow descend, limping as they make their way down (in truth, only pretending to limp).
They throw dead dogs into the river. Afterwards, full of sorrow and justifiable anger,
they fold their burlap sacks, scratch their groins, and contemplate the moonlight on water. There’s just
that one inexplicable thing; pretending to be cripples, without anyone to witness them.

May 25, 1968
Partheni concentration camp

from Stones [Collected Poems:I ]

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