Monday, April 6, 2009

The Roots of the World

Yannis Ritsos

A few scorched reeds in the armpit of summer,
a little sage, some thyme, a few ferns.

We were filled with thirst,
filled with hunger,
filled with suffering.

We never would have believed
men could be so cruel.
We never would have believed
our hearts could be so strong.

We, the unshaven, with a crust of death in our pockets.
Where does the grain kneel down before the sky?

Slowly evening arrives. Shadow won't soften the severity of stone.
The dead soldier's canteen stuck in the sand.
The moon was moored at some other shore
where a calmness rocks it with its little finger—
but which shore? what calmness?

We were filled with thirst,
laboring with stone all day long.
Only beneath our thirst
exist the roots of the world.

from Petrified Time (1949) [Collected Poems: Τα Επικαιρικα --- pg 266]

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