Preveza

Kostas Karyotakis
Greek
1896 – 1928

 

Death is the bullies bashing
against the black walls and roof tiling,
death is the women being loved
in the course of onion peeling.

Death the squalid, unimportant streets
with their glamorous and pompous names,
the olive-grove, the surrounding sea, and even
the sun, death among all other deaths.

Death the policeman bending over
to weigh, a “lacking” portion,
death the harebells on the balcony
and the teacher with the newspaper.

Base, Guard, Sixty-man Prevezian Rule.
On Sunday we’ll listen to the band.
I’ve taken out a savings booklet,
my first deposit drachmas thirty one.

Walking slowly on the quay,
“do I exist?” you say, and then: “you do not!”
The ship approaches. The flag is flying.
Perhaps Mr. Prefect will be coming.

If at least, among these people,
one would die of sheer disgust
silent, bereaved, with humble manners,
at the funeral we’d all have fun.

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