The Turn

 

Στο περιγιάλι το κρυφό                                At the hidden shore
κι άσπρο σαν περιστέρι                               white like a dove
διψάσαμε το μεσημέρι                                we got withered midday
μα το νερό γλυφό                                         but the water was saline.

Πάνω στην άμμο την ξανθή                      On the light sand
γράψαμε τ όνομα της                                 we wrote her name
ωραία που φύσηξεν ο μπάτης                   nicely the breeze blew
και σβήστηκε η γραφή                               and erased the writing.

Με τι καρδιά με τι πνοή                             With such heart with such breath
τι πόθους και τι πάθος                                such desires and such passions
πήραμε τη ζωή μας λάθος!                        we misled our life!
κι αλλάξαμε ζωή.                                         and changed our life.

(“Strophe” by G. Seferis, see https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4112/george-seferis-the-art-of-poetry-no-13-george-seferis)

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Our Song

 

The outlanders pursue him as if he were game.
They will kill him if he comes in force.
It is otherwise with us.

Wulf is on one island; I, on another.
That island is fast, surrounded by fens.
There are fierce men on this island.
They will kill him if he comes in force.
It is otherwise with us.

My thoughts pursued Wulf like a panting hound.
Whenever it rained and I woke disconsolate
the bold warrior came: he took me in his arms.
For me, there was pleasure, but its end was loathsome.
Wulf, O, my Wulf, my ache for you
has made me sick; your infrequent visits
have left me famished, but why should I eat?
Do you hear, Eadwacer? A she-wolf has borne
our wretched whelp to the woods.
One can easily sunder what was never one:
our song together.

Wulf and Eadwacer (Anonymous Ballad, circa 960-990 AD)
(ref:

http://www.thehypertexts.com/Best%20Love%20Poems.htm)

 

Aften

postcard“I aften wish that eence again
The weary road I’ve traivell’t

Wis mine tae tread, I’d hae things fit

Withoot mischance or guessin’;

My ships wad safely mak’the port,

My webs be never raivell’t,

An’ a’d be for the best – I wish,

An faur’s the hairm in wishin’? ”

 

(by “Turlundie”-Scottish poet

http://www.rampantscotland.com/poetry/blpoems_wish.htm)

Sufficiency

If I am happy or unhappy I do not give thought to

Except one thing that with pleasure I bring always in my mind

That in the big addition (their addition that I despise)

With so many numbers, I am not there

Among the many entities one. In the total amount

I was not appraised. And this pleasure suffices me.

 

(Translation : Prosthesis, Kavafis-1877-1923;

http://www.kavafis.gr/poems/content.asp?id=238&cat=4)

Will they?

“If I know a song of Africa,

of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back,

of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces

of the coffee pickers,

does Africa know a song of me?

 

Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on,

or the children invent a game in which my name is,

or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me,

or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”

 

From OUT OF AFRICA by Isak Dinesen (1885-1962), chapter titled “Kamante and Lulu,” page 83.

 

 

Prompt

As long as you live, be bright

Don’t be sorrowful;

Short is life

The end time requires.

 

(Seikilos epitaph-200BC)

 

Tant que tu vis, brille !

Ne t’afflige absolument de rien !

La vie ne dure guère.

Le temps exige son tribut.

 

The following is a transliteration of the original words of the Seikilos epitaph which are sung to the beautiful melody: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUkabSGrK7I

Hoson zēs, phainou

Mēden holōs sy lypou;

Pros oligon esti to zēn

To telos ho chronos apaitei

 

“The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone, near Ephesus (in today’s Turkey). The find has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around AD 100.

Also on the tombstone is an indication that states:

“I am a tombstone, an icon.

Seikilos placed me here as an everlasting sign of

deathless remembrance”.

While older music with notation exists (for example the Delphic Hymns), all of it is in fragments; the Seikilos epitaph is unique in that it is a complete, though short, composition”.

Seikilos

Canceled

You Who Never Arrived

 

You who never arrived in my arms, Beloved, who were lost from the start, I don’t even know what songs would please you. I have given up trying to recognize you in the surging wave of the next moment. All the immense images in me — the far-off, deeply-felt landscape, cities, towers, and bridges, and unsuspected turns in the path, and those powerful lands that were once pulsing with the life of the gods– all rise within me to mean you, who forever elude me.
You, Beloved, who are all the gardens I have ever gazed at, longing. An open window in a country house– , and you almost stepped out, pensive, to meet me. Streets that I chanced upon,– you had just walked down them and vanished. And sometimes, in a shop, the mirrors were still dizzy with your presence and, startled, gave back my too-sudden image. Who knows? Perhaps the same bird echoed through both of us yesterday, separate, in the evening…

(by Rainer Maria Rilke)

                                 torso of apollo

 

Archaic Torso of Apollo

We cannot know his legendary head with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso is still suffused with brilliance from inside, like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low, gleams in all its power. Otherwise the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could a smile run through the placid hips and thighs to that dark center where procreation flared. Otherwise this stone would seem defaced beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur: would not, from all the borders of itself, burst like a star: for here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life.

(by Rainer Maria Rilke)

 

 

 

poem

 

 

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