Odysseas Elytis

Rating: 4.33
Rating: 4.33

Odysseas Elytis Poems

Freely beside me the vineyards are running and unbridled
Remains the sky. Wildfires trade pinecones and one
Donkey bolts uphill
for a little cloud

Often, in the Repose of Evening her soul took a lightness from
the mountains across, although the day was harsh and
tomorrow foreign.

Spotlight a

SCENE ONE: Open-air court in the ancient city of Athens. The accused arrive
and proceed among curses and cries of Death! Death!

I walk in thorns in the dark
of what's to happen and what has
with my only weapon my only defense

IF ONLY MOTHER you could see me: as I was born, I
departed. I was far too little - besides who un-
derstands? - and far too many were the creeping
monsters with the lateral, slimy legs.

So, from the length of a life constructed with such dif-
ficulty all that remains is a half-ruined door and a lot
of large decaying water anemones. Therefrom I pass
and proceed - who knows? - to a womb sweeter than
my country.

Burnished day, conch of the voice that fashioned me
Naked, to step through my perpetual Sundays
Between the shores' cries of welcome,
Let your wind, known for the first time, blow freely
Unfold a lawn of tenderness
Where the sun can roll his head
Can enflame the poppies with his kiss
Poppies nourished by men so fine
That the sole mark on their bare chests
Is the blood of defiance that annuls sorrow
And attains the remembrance of liberty.

I spoke of love, of the rose's health, of the ray
That by itself goes straight to the heart,
Of Greece that steps so surely on the sea
Greece that carries me always
Among naked snow-crowned mountains.

I give my hand to justice
Diaphanous fountain, sublimest spring,
My sky is deep and changeless
All I love is incessantly reborn
All I love is always at its beginning.

Drinking the sun of Corinth
Reading the marble ruins
Striding across vineyards and seas
Sighting along the harpoon
A votive fish that slips away
I found the leaves that the sun's psalm memorizes
The living land that passion joys in opening.

I drink water, cut fruit,
Thrust my hand into the wind's foliage
The lemon trees water the summer pollen
The green birds tear my dreams
I leave with a glance
A wide glance in which the world is recreated
Beautiful from the beginning to the dimensions of the heart!

Here then am I
created for the young Korai and the Aegean islands,
lover of the deer's leaping,
initiate in the Mystery of olive leaves,
sun-drinker and locust-killer.
Here am I, face to face
with the black shirts of the ruthless
and of the years' empty belly that aborted
its own children, in heat!
Wind releases the elements and thunder assaults the mountains.
Fate of the innocent, alone again, here you are in the Straits!
In the Straits I opened my hands.
In the Straits I emptied my hands
and saw no other riches, heard no other riches
but cool fountains running.
Pomegranates or Zephyr or Kisses.
Each to his own weapons. I said:
In the Straits I'll open my pomegranates.
In the Straits I'll post Zephyrs as sentries.
I'll unleash the old kisses canonized by my longing!
Wind releases the elements and thunder assaults the mountains.
Fate of the innocent, you are my own Fate!

just briefly, for a moment, the little goddess
with the mauve ribbon smiled at me
from a lad she's always passed me secrets

Then she vanished floating off to the right
going to empty the bin with my waste
- the soul's cigarette-ends and poem-ends -
there where haughty and full of past youth
the sea simmers.

I lived the beloved name
In the shade of the aged olive tree
In the roaring of the lifelong sea

Those who stoned me live no longer
With their stones I built a fountain
To its brink green girls come
Their lips descend from the dawn
Their hair unwinds far into the future

Swallows come, infants of the wind
They drink, they fly, so that life goes on
The threat of the dream becomes a dream
Pain rounds the good cape
No voice is lost in the breast of the sky

O deathless sea, tell what you are whispering
I reach your morning mouth early
On the peak where your love appears
I see the will of the night spilling stars
The will of the day nipping the earth's shoots

I saw a thousand wild lilies on the meadows of life
A thousand children in the true wind
Beautiful strong children who breathe out kindness
And know how to gaze at the deep horizons
When music raises the islands

I carved the beloved name
In the shade of the aged olive tree
In the roaring of the lifelong sea.

Odourless yet like blossom
Death is grasped through the
Nostrils. Square silent buildings with
Endless corridors come between but the odour
Persistently passes folds in white sheets or crimson
Curtains throughout the room's length
Sometimes a sudden reflection of light
Then once again only the trolley's wheels
And the old lithograph with the scene
Of the Annunciation as it appears in the mirror

Whereupon, with arm outstretched He
Who announces and is silent, brings and takes away
Pale and with an air of guilt (as if not wanting but having to)
Takes and extinguishes one by one the red
Globules inside me. As does the verger with the candles when
At the end of the long list of prayers
For a fair wind and all of creation or
Above all, for such things as each has in mind
The congregation disperses

O Such things have I! Yet how
In what way may the "unutterable" be revealed
For while with irises and anemones the May-months effuse
And with verdant slopes step down to the sea
When this too in whispers ever discloses
Something of its ancient secrets, men is left speechless
The soul alone. This
Like the mother of fledglings in danger takes under its wing
And patiently gathers from out of the storms
A few crumbs of peace; so tomorrow, the next day
All that you have in mind with new shiny down
May open out in the skies even if the gates to the heavenly dwellings
Open and close without justice

The Angel knows. And furtively withdraws his finger
So that gold becomes blue again and a fragrance
Of burning incense ascends to the rose-coloured dome
The candles in every stand light up all at once
Then they all follow. Footsteps on the wet leaves
Since men too like graves and with reverence
pile lovely flowers there
Yet, death, not one of them has anything to say
Except the poet. The sun's Jesus. The same one who after
each Saturday
Rises. He who Is, Was and Will Be.

You have a taste of tempest on your lips—But where did you wander
All day long in the hard reverie of stone and sea?
An eagle-bearing wind stripped the hills
Stripped your longing to the bone
And the pupils of your eyes received the message of chimera
Spotting memory with foam!
Where is the familiar slope of short September
On the red earth where you played, looking down
At the broad rows of the other girls
The corners where your friends left armfuls of rosemary.

But where did you wander
All night long in the hard reverie of stone and sea?
I told you to count in the naked water its luminous days
On your back to rejoice in the dawn of things
Or again to wander on yellow plains
With a clover of light on you breast, iambic heroine.

You have a taste of tempest on your lips
And a dress red as blood
Deep in the gold of summer
And the perfume of hyacinths—But where did you wander
Descending toward the shores, the pebbled bays?

There was cold salty seaweed there
But deeper a human feeling that bled
And you opened your arms in astonishment naming it
Climbing lightly to the clearness of the depths
Where your own starfish shone.

Listen. Speech is the prudence of the aged
And time is a passionate sculptor of men
And the sun stands over it, a beast of hope
And you, closer to it, embrace a love
With a bitter taste of tempest on your lips.

It is not for you, blue to the bone, to think of another summer,
For the rivers to change their bed
And take you back to their mother
For you to kiss other cherry trees
Or ride on the northwest wind.

Propped on the rocks, without yesterday or tomorrow,
Facing the dangers of the rocks with a hurricane hairstyle
You will say farewell to the riddle that is yours.

And so they found that the gold of the olive root had dripped in the re-
cesses of his heart.

And from the many times that he had lain awake by candlelight waiting
for the dawn, a strange heat had seized his entrails.

A little below the skin, the blue line of the horizon sharply painted. And
ample traces of blue throughout his blood.

The cries of birds which he had come to memorize in hours of great lonely
ness apparently spilled out all at once, so that it was impossible for
the knife to enter deeply.

Probably the intention sufficed for the evil

Which he met—it is obvious—in the terrifying posture of the innocent.
His eyes open, proud, the whole forest moving still on the unblem-
ished retina.

Nothing in the brain but a dead echo of the sky.

Only in the hollow of his left ear some light fine sand, as though in a shell.
Which means that often he had walked by the sea alone with the pain
of love and the roar of the wind.

As for those particles of fire on his groin, they show that he moved time
hours ahead whenever he embraced a woman.

We shall have early fruit this year.

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

They will smell of incense, and their faces are burnt by their crossing through the Great Dark Places.

There where they were suddenly flung by the Immovable

Face-down, on ground whose smallest anemone would suffice to turn the air of Hades bitter

(One arm outstretched, as though straining to be grasped by the future, the other arm under the desolate head, turned on its side,

As though to see for the last time, in the eyes of a disembowelled horse, the heap of smoking ruins)—

There time released them. One wing, the redder of the two, covered the world, while the other, delicate, already moved through space,

No wrinkle or pang of conscience, but at a great depth

The old immemorial blood that began painfully to etch, in the sky's blackness,

A new sun, not yet ripe,

That couldn't manage to dislodge the hoarfrost of lambs from live clover, but, before even casting a ray, could divine the oracles of Erebus...

And from the beginning, Valleys, Mountains, Trees, Rivers,

A creation made of vindicated feelings now shone, identical and reversed, there for them to cross now, with the Executioner inside them put to death,

Villagers of the limitless blue:

Neither twelve o'clock striking in the depths nor the voice of the pole falling from the heights retracted their footsteps.

They read the world greedily with eyes now open forever, there where they were suddenly flung by the Immovable,

Face-down, and where the voltures fell upon them violently to enjoy the clay of their guts and their blood.

dressed up as "friends,"
came countless times, my enemies,
trampling the primeval soil.
And the soil never blended with their heel.
They brought
The Wise One, the Founder, and the Geometer,
Bibles of letters and numbers,
every kind of Submission and Power,
to sway over the primeval light.
And the light never blended with their roof.
Not even a bee was fooled into beginning the golden game,
not even a Zephyr into swelling the white aprons.
On the peaks, in the valleys, in the ports
they raised and founded
mighty towers and villas,
floating timbers and other vessels;
and the Laws decreeing the pursuit of profit
they applied to the primeval measure.
And the measure never blended with their thinking.
Not even a footprint of a god left a man on their soul,
not even a fairy's glance tried to rob them of their speech.
They came
dressed up as "friends,"
came countless times, my enemies,
bearing the primeval gifts.
And their gifts were nothing else
but iron and fire only.
To the open expecting fingers
only weapons and iron and fire.
Only weapons and iron and fire.

This wind that loiters among the quinces
This insect that sucks the vines
This stone that the scorpion wears next to his skin
And these sheaves on the threshing floor
That play the giant to small barefoot children.

The images of the Resurrection
On walls that the pine trees scratched with their fingers
This whitewash that carries the noonday on its back
And the cicadas, the cicadas in the ears of the trees.

Great summer of chalk
Great summer of cork
The red sails slanting in gusts of wind
On the sea-floor white creatures, sponges
Accordions of the rocks
Perch from the fingers even of bad fishermen
Proud reefs on the fishing lines of the sun.

No one will tell our fate, and that is that,
We ourselves will tell the sun's fate, and that is that.

Odysseas Elytis Biography

Odysseas Elytis (November 2, 1911 – March 18, 1996) was regarded as a major exponent of romantic modernism in Greece and the world. In 1979 the Nobel Prize in Literature was bestowed on him. Descendant of the Alepoudellis, an old industrial family from Lesbos, Elytis was born in Heraklion on the island of Crete, on November 2, 1911. His family later moved to Athens, where the poet graduated from high school and later attended courses as an auditor at the Law School at University of Athens. In 1935 Elytis published his first poem in the journal New Letters at the prompting of such friends as George Seferis. His entry with a distinctively earthy and original form assisted to inaugurate a new era in Greek poetry and its subsequent reform after the Second World War. From 1969–1972, under the Greek military junta of 1967–1974, Elytis exiled himself to Paris. He was romantically linked to the lyricist and musicologist Mariannina Kriezi, who subsequently produced and hosted the legendary children's radio broadcast "Here Lilliput Land". Elytis was intensely private and vehemently solitary in pursuing his ideals of poetic truth and experience.)

The Best Poem Of Odysseas Elytis

For Efessos

Freely beside me the vineyards are running and unbridled
Remains the sky. Wildfires trade pinecones and one
Donkey bolts uphill
for a little cloud
St. Heracleitos's day and something's up
That even noses can't diagnose:
Tricks of a shoeless wind snagging the hem
Of Fate's nightgown and leaving
Us in the open air of capricorns
Secretly I go with all the loot in my mind
For a life unbowed from the beginning. No candles no
Only a gold anemone's engagement for a diamond
Feeling its way to where? Asking what? Our moon's half-
shadow needs
You to console even the graves
Homoethnic or not. The crux is that the scent of earth
Lost even to bloodhounds
With its weeds onions and creeks
Must be restored to its idiom

So what! A word contains you peasant of night's green
Efessos! Forefather sulphur phosphorus your fourteenth
Inside the orange groves gold words
Sharing the scalpel's chisel
Tents as yet unpitched
others midair
Lost poles suddenly grinding. Sermons
Rise from the seafloor of the facing coves
Twin scythes for theater or temple
Fresh valley springs and other curly streams
Of thus and so. If ever wisdom
Planned circles of clover and dog grass
Another world might live just as before
your fingerprint

Letters will exist. People will read and grab
History's tail once more. Just let the vineyards gallop and the sky
Unbridled as children want it
With roosters and pinecones and blue kites
On Saint Heracleitos's day
child's is the kingdom.

Translated by Olga Broumas

Odysseas Elytis Comments

Odysseas Elytis Quotes

You'll come to learn a great deal if you study the Insignificant in depth.

Odysseas Elytis Popularity

Odysseas Elytis Popularity

Error Success