Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Yannis Ritsos

Pitchers and baskets in the dusk,
metal plates, cups made from empty tin cans,
shadows from nightmarish screams beneath the wooden cots.
This night passes like the last. The army-green colored soil,
the army-green tent and the army-green scarecrow.
Patched blankets, and the sky.

The white sheets of dawn flutter in the wind—but who will see them?—
a leaf swinging madly like a clothes-pin on a rope—who pays attention to such things?—
the clothes-pin is holding summer's handkerchief—who will take it down?

Beyond the mountains there's a white country: the window have green shutters,
there's a lot of noise from all the heavy trucks hauling
workers, sacks of cement, and telephone poles.

Far away—we know—there are women,
women who are bitter and of few words. They bend over their work
holding their needles as though they were tiny rays of light,
sewing a large flag. And the windows there
shall turn rose colored as if freshly dyed.

Daybreak arrives.
A cat plays in the field with a piece of the moon
as if it were a discarded lemon rind.

No, we're no longer exhausted. We're no longer thirsty.
We put on our shirts—morning's blue shirt.
We shave. What shall we see today?

Beyond the mountains there's a white country
and there are women sewing a large flag.

Good morning, Kalimera.
The prison work begins.

from Petrified Time (1949) [Collected Poems: Τα Επικαιρικα --- pg 287]

No comments: