Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Yannis Ritsos

Doubtful—he says—vague, opaque; I can't make out the meaning.
The grass rustles. Old women, at the windows, shake large
black sheets. The milkman pisses on the threshold stone.
The cripple sharpens a knife. Flags are suddenly lowered
on the battleship. Large bass drums tumble
and roll down the hillside. Guards race out.
after a naked man with his head shaved. “He’s crazy,” they shout.
“Don’t listen to him! He's crazy.” The man runs. They chase after him.
“He beats copper pans all night.” The bayonets shine.
Women pull their dresses up to cover their eyes.
“Don’t listen to him!” And you don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

May 19, 1968
Partheni concentration camp

from Stones [Collected Poems: I ]

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