The Capital 1980

In honor of Greek Independence Day, we present this work by one of modern Greece’s finest poets.

Melissanthi
Greek
1910 – 1991

 

I take my diving suit and drift around
in the aquarium of the city.
Its streets all teem with divers of murky waters:
bodies of the drowned that sway,
hooked onto fishing lines
hinder the traffic.

Avid eyes lie in wait,
lie in ambush at ev’ry step:
merchandise cheap, sordid bait,
and the prey is trapped with ease.

At the central crossings
the concentration of plankton
is pushed towards the gaping entrances
of supermarkets.
The gaping mouths of voracious cetaceans
washed up in crucial areas of the capital:
enormous mammals which regurgitate
the incoming and outgoing shoal.

In the rush hour the tidal wave is swelling
the continuous perpetual tumult
from the insatiable appetite
of the crowd:
The menace which grows,
the cracked and empty jar,
the invisible black hole
which gulps down the galaxy

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