We present this work in honor of the 80th anniversary of the poet’s death.
Immortal spirit of antiquity, Father of the true, beautiful and good, Descend, appear, shed over us thy light Upon this ground and under this sky Which has first witnessed the unperishable fame. Give life and animation to those noble games! Throw wreaths of fadeless flowers to the victors In the race and in the strife! Create in our breasts, hearts of steel! In thy light, plains, mountains and seas Shine in a roseate hue and form a vast temple To which all nations throng to adore thee, Oh immortal spirit of antiquity!
We present this work in honor of the 5th anniversary of the poet’s death.
Asia Minor, 1922
Don’t look at the sun with pleasure. Don’t cry, or even curse. Before you touch the yellowed clippings make a shroud of your palms and tell the story gently.
She lies on the bed. There aren’t any sheets, only a gnawed pillowcase and a mattress stained with urine and feces the only witness of decades of silence.
Don’t look at the sun with pleasure, don’t cry or even curse. Look at the ropes looped double over ankles and wrists tied to the posts, the body spread-eagled as in Da Vinci’s drawing, lashed to the bed.
Look at her puberty, the black camellia plucked from the roots of its innocence, the fragile petals scattered on the bloody pulp, the red trickle threading its decades to reach us.
Look at the torn sky until the girl in the yellowed clipping escapes with a flower in her hand.
The heavenly battles descend on the soil and death returns to earth: its place of origin. High flashes accompany it; it is the only luxury left to the corpses. Indeed, how did evil change direction! From below, its immediate action would start: from mud, hoofs of animals boots, swamps and it would rise up to the black clouds and the innocent souls. Now the desert, as I imagine it with countless pink shades sand breasts breathing in the desert wind a secret body with its dark oases hidden under impartial spectator of disaster conquered by parachutes. From above downwards now the evolution of bleeding flesh; heaven a past in flames will be forgotten and the good will be thrust in the earth buried deep, very deep in memory.
They took their stand where the appointed judges Had cast their lots and ranged the rival cars. Rang out the brazen trump! Away they bound, Cheer the hot steeds and shake the slackened reins; As with a body the large space is filled With the huge clangor of the rattling cars. High whirl aloft the dust-clouds; blent together, Each presses each and the lash rings; and loud Snort the wild steeds, and from their fiery breath, Along their manes and down the circling wheels Scatter the flaking foam. Orestes still— Ays, as he swept around the perilous pillar Last in the course, wheeled in the rushing axle; The left rein curbed,—that on the dexter hand Flung loose.— So on erect the chariots rolled! Sudden the Ænian’s fierce and headlong steeds Broke from the bit — and, as the seventh time now The course was circled, on the Libyan car Dashed their wild fronts: then order changed to ruin: Car crashed on car; the wide Crissæan plain Was sea-like strewed with wrecks; the Athenian saw, Slackened his speed, and wheeling round the marge, Unscathed and skillful, in the midmost space, Left the wild tumult of that tossing storm. Behind, Orestes, hitherto the last, Had yet kept back his coursers for the close; Now one sole rival left — on, on he flew, And the sharp sound of the impelling scourge Rang in the keen ears of the flying steeds. He nears, he reaches — they are side by side — Now one — the other — by a length the victor. The courses all are past — the wheels erect — All safe — when, as the hurrying coursers round The fatal pillar dashed, the wretched boy Slackened the left rein: on the column’s edge Crashed the frail axle: headlong from the car Caught and all meshed within the reins, he fell; And masterless the mad steeds raged along! Loud from that mighty multitude arose A shriek — a shout! But yesterday such deeds, To-day such doom! Now whirled upon the earth, Now his limbs dashed aloft, they dragged him — those Wild horses — till all gory from the wheels Released; — and no man, not his nearest friends, Could in that mangled corpse have traced Orestes. They laid the body on the funeral-pyre; And while we speak, the Phocian strangers bear, In a small, brazen, melancholy urn, That handful of cold ashes to which all The grandeur of the Beautiful hath shrunk.
Either carrying shells as gifts
From the Erythaian cliff
Or halcyon chicks still unwinged
Presents for the girl from an anxious man.
His Siren girl neighbor felt pity
For he was swimming toward that beach
And the regions close to Aitna.
First in my song shalt thou be, O Phœbus, the song that I sing Of the heroes of old, who sped, at the hest of Pelias the king, When down through the gorge of the Pontus-sea, through the Crags Dark-blue, On the Quest of the Fleece of Gold the strong-ribbed Argo flew. For an oracle came unto Pelias, how that in days to be A terrible doom should be dealt him of him whom his eyes should see From the field coming in, with the one foot only sandal-shod. Nor long thereafter did Jason fulfil the word of the God: For in wading the rush of Amaurus swollen with winter-tide rain One sandal plucked he forth of the mire, but the one was he fain To leave in the depths, for the swirl of the waters to sweep to the main. Straightway to the presence of Pelias he came, and his hap was to light On a banquet, the which unto Father Poseidon the king had dight, And the rest of the Gods, but Pelasgian Hêrê he heeded not. And the king beheld him, and straightway laid for his life the plot, And devised for him toil of a troublous voyage, that lost in the sea, Or lost amid alien men his home-return might be. Of the ship and her fashioning, bards of the olden time have told How Argus wrought, how Athênê made him cunning-souled. But now be it mine the lineage and names of her heroes to say, And to tell of the long sea-paths whereover they needs must stray, And the deeds that they wrought:—may the Muses vouchsafe to inspire the lay.
Verily there is a vengeance from on high, and happy he that weaveth merrily one day’s weft without a tear. And so, as for me, I sing now of the light that is Agido’s. Bright I see it as the very sun’s which the same Agido now invoketh to shine upon us. And yet neither praise nor blame can I give at all to such as she without offence to our splendid leader, who herself appeareth as pre-eminent as would a well-knit steed of ringing hoof that overcometh in the race, if he were set to graze among the unsubstantial cattle of our dreams that fly.
We present this work in honor of the 30th anniversary of the poet’s death.
When you reach that other world, don’t become a cloud, don’t become a cloud, and the bitter star of dawn, so that your mother knows you, waiting at her door. Take a wand of willow, a root of rosemary, a root of rosemary, and be a moonlit coolness falling in the midnight in your thirsting courtyard. I gave you rosewater to drink, you gave me poison, eaglet of the frost, hawk of the desert.
Among them too are the Muses For everywhere To flute and string the young girls Are dancing, In their hair the gold leaves of the bay: The dance whirls them away: Age or disease, no toil, Battle or ill-day’s luck Can touch them, they Are holy, they Will outlast time, exempted From the anger of the Goddess And all decay.
Here the hero came With the head That shocked a royal house, turning King and all into stone: It was long long ago, if Time means anything; Long, long ago.