In the Manner of George Seferis

Wherever I travel Greece wounds me.

On Pelion among the chestnut trees the shirt of the Centaur

slipped through the leaves to wrap around my body

as I went up the slope and the sea behind meal

so climbing like the mercury of a thermometer

until we found the water of the mountain.

On Santorini touching islands that were sinking

listening to a flute playing somewhere on the pumice-stones

my hand was nailed on the gunwale

by an arrow suddenly shot

from a faraway vanished youth.

At Mycenae I raised the great rocks and the Atreides’ treasures

and I slept with them at the hotel “Menelaus’ Helen”

though they disappeared at dawn with Cassandra’s call

with a cock hanging from her black neck.

On Spetses, Poros and Mykonos

the barcaroles made me sick.

What do they want, all these who claim

to be in Athens or Peraeus?

One coming from Salamis asks another

whether he comes from ‘Omonoia Square’‘

No I come from Syntagma Square’ he answers pleased

‘I met with Yanni and he bought me an ice cream.

’Meanwhile Greece travels

we don’t know anything, we don’t know anything we are all jobless sailors

we don’t know the harbour’s bitterness when all the ships have gone

we make fun of those who do know it.

Strange people who claim they are in Attica though they are really nowhere;

they buy sugar coated almonds that they get married they carry hair toner,

they take pictures of themselves

the man I saw today sitting with background of pigeons and flowers

he allows the hand of the old photographer to smoothen up his wrinkles

that all the birds of the sky

had left on his face.

Meanwhile Greece travels, always travels

and if ‘we see the Aegean flowering with corpses’

they are those who chose to catch the big ship by swimming to it

those who got tired waiting for the ships that couldn’t sail


The ships whistle now that dusk falls over Piraeus

they whistle, they whistle constantly but no winch moves

no chain gleamed wet in the twilight

the captain stands like a statue in white and gold.

Wherever I travel Greece wounds me;

curtains of mountains, archipelagos, naked granites…

The ship that sails they call AG ONY 937.

M/s Aulis, waiting to sail Summer 1936[