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
ELSI SAMOTHRAKI and AMVRAKIKOS.
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[