Mr Stratis Thalassinos Describes a Man IV Young Man
For a whole year I sailed with captain Odysseus
I was fine
in good weather I cuddled in the prow next to the mermaid
I sang to her red lips as I looked at the flying fish,
in rough waters I hid in a corner of the hold
with the dog of the ship keeping me warm.
A year later one morning I saw minarets
the ship mate told me:
‘It is Saint Sophia tonight I’ll take you to the women.
’Thus I learned of those women who wear
only stockings the ones we select, in fact.
It was a strange place
an orchard with two walnut trees, a grapevine, a water well
all around a high wall with broken glass on its top
a ditch singing ‘in the stream of my life’.
Then I saw for the first time a heart
pierced by the familiar arrow
drawn on the wall with charcoal.
I saw the leaves of the grapevine yellow
fallen on the ground
stuck on the flagstones onto the humble mud
and I took a step back to go to the ship.
Then the ship mate grabbed me by the collar and threw me in the well;
the warm water and so much life around
my skin…Then the girl playing with her right
breast carelessly said to me:
‘I’m from Rhodes, when I was thirteen
they got me engaged for one hundred drachmas.’
and the ditch sang ‘in the stream of my life’.
I recalled the broken water pitcher in the cool afternoon and I thought;
‘She will die as well, how is she going to die?
’I only said to her
‘Be careful, you will ruin it, it’s your livelihood’.
That night on the ship I didn’t dare get close
to the mermaid I was ashamed to face her.