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主题 : 《希腊人魂》姜海舟译
级别: 总版主

0楼  发表于: 2015-02-17   主页: http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/1147554082

《希腊人魂》姜海舟译




 


作者:扬尼斯·里索斯
 





I
这些树不适合有限的天空,
这些岩石不适合陌生人的鞋跟,
这些面孔只适合太阳,
这些心只适合正义。
 

这个地方严酷如同沉默,
把它火一样的石头抱到怀里,
把它孤儿般的橄榄树和葡萄园投入光中,
紧紧咬住。没有水——只有光。
道路消失在光里,连墙的影子都是铁一样的。
 

树木,河流和声音历经太阳的粉饰都成了大理石。
绊在大理石上的根。满是尘土的乳香树。
骡子和岩石。它们气喘吁吁。没有水。
他们都渴了。好多年了。为了吞下痛苦,他们大口咀嚼天空。
 

他们的眼睛因为熬夜是红的
一道沟深楔在眉毛之间
像落日下两山之间的一棵柏树。
 

他们手不离枪
枪支是他们手臂的延伸
手臂是他们灵魂的延伸——

他们把怒气置于嘴唇
而把伤痛深深地置入眼睛
仿佛盐坑里的星星。
 

当他们握紧拳头,世界无疑充满阳光
当他们微笑,一只小燕子从它们凶猛的胡须深处逃出
当他们熟睡,十二颗星星从他们空空的囊中掉落
当他们被杀,生命举着旗子和着鼓点迈向高处。
 

这么多年他们全都饿了,全都渴了,全都被杀了
被陆地和大海包围着,
似火的高温吞噬了他们的田地,海水浸泡了他们的房子
风推倒了他们的门,空地里只有几株丁香树
死亡从他们外套的破洞进进出出
他们的舌头苦涩如柏树果
他们死去的狗裹在牠们自己的影子里
雨水击打在牠们的骨头上。
 

石头一样寂静,他们在瞭望台上把牛粪和夜晚当烟抽
守望着狂暴的大海
那里折断的月亮的桅杆已经沉没。
 

面包没有了,子弹没有了
此刻只能把他们的心装进大炮。
 

这么多年被陆地和海洋包围
他们全都遭受饥荒,全都被杀,可没有一个已经消亡——
他们在瞭望台上目光炯炯
如一面巨大无比的旗帜,一团巨大无比的红色烈焰
而每当黎明来临,成千上万的鸽子从他们的手中腾飞
飞向那四扇地平线的大门。
 

II
每一次夜幕降临,麝香草都已经烤焦在岩石的胸膛
那是一滴水长年累月地钻入到沉默的骨髓
那是一口钟挂在老悬铃木上呼喊岁月。
 

火花放松地睡在废墟的灰烬上
屋顶掂量着七月上唇镀金的绒毛
——黄色的绒毛像是被落日的悲哀熏过的玉米须。
 

圣母躺在桃金娘中,穿着被葡萄弄上污渍的宽大裙子。
有个孩子在路上哭喊,而平地上失去孩子的母羊回应着。
 

阴影笼罩泉水。桶里的水冰冷。
浸湿双脚的铁匠的女儿。
面包和橄榄已上桌,
葡萄架下是晚星的灯盏
更高处,银河打开它的烤肉架,释放出
咝咝作响的脂肪,大蒜和胡椒的香味。
 

哦,还需什么丝线般的星光
为松针把“这一定会过去的”绣到夏天火烫的墙上
那位母亲才不再为她七个被屠杀的儿子而心碎
在光明从她陡峭的灵魂之路上找到方向之前?
 

这根从地下冒出的骨头
一尺尺丈量大地和鲁特琴弦
从傍晚直至破晓,鲁特琴伴随着小提琴
向薄荷与松树述说它们的悲痛
船只上,帆索琴弦般颤动
水手从奥德修斯的杯中喝着苦涩的海水。
 

呵,此时谁会阻挡这关口,哪一把剑能阻断勇气
什么钥匙会把心锁住——它敞开的百叶窗
在它注视繁星点点的神之花园时?
 

钟点真棒,像是在水手的酒馆度过五月星期六的夜晚
夜真棒,恰似挂在补锅匠墙上的平底锅
民谣真棒,如同捕海绵者晚餐的面包。
 

看那里,克里特岛的月亮从小圆石上冲下
踢踏,踢踏,和着靴底的二十道楔子
看,他们上下于纳夫普利翁城的阶梯
把黑暗当作粗切的烟叶填充着烟斗,
他们的八字须——星星一样撒开的努美利镇的百里香
他们的牙齿像松树根,在岩石和爱琴海的盐里。
 

他们赴汤蹈火,他们与石头谈话
在祖先的头盖骨里,他们用葡萄酒款待死神;
在那些类似的打谷场,他们与英雄狄吉尼斯会面且共进晚餐
把他们的痛苦各切一半,就像用膝盖折断面包条。
 

来吧,睫毛上泪盈盈的淑女,带着熏黑的手
因为关照穷人,因为年积月累——
你匆忙中,爱等待着
在它的洞穴海鸥悬挂起你的肖像
心有怨恨的海胆也亲吻起你的脚趾甲。
 

葡萄园的黑葡萄内汁液冒着鲜红的泡泡
浆果在烧毁的冬青树上沸腾
在土里,死亡之根为了展示杉树而寻找水
母亲却在自己皱纹的掩饰下紧握着一把刀。
 

来吧淑女,孵着雷声的金蛋,
当海蓝色的一天到来,你将揭掉头巾再次拿起武器
好让五月的冰雹击打你的额头
好让太阳在你自制围裙上像石榴一样绽放
好让你独自把它一粒一粒分给你的十二个孤儿
好让大海能到处闪闪发光,就像剑刃和四月的雪,
好让螃蟹出现在卵石上,朝着太阳架起牠的钳子。
 

III
这里,天空不消耗我们眼中的燃油,哪怕只是一会儿
这里,太阳分担我们背负岩石的一半重量
正午的膝盖下,房瓦破裂,连喘息的声音都没发出
在自己的影子前行走的人们像斯基亚索斯轻舟前的海豚
随后他们的影子成为一只鹰,把翅膀画在落日上
再后来,停到他们的头上想着星星
这时他们躺在黑葡萄干环绕的阳光廊道上。
 

这里每扇门都刻有一个名字,一个大约三千岁的名字
每一块岩石上都画有一位眼睛狂野头发像绳的圣人
每一个汉子左臂都纹有一幅红色鱼美人,一针一针的
每一位姑娘裙下都有一把咸的光亮
而孩子们有五六个金色的小十字架在他们的心上
像午后沙滩上海鸥的足迹。
 

你用不着纪念。我们知道。
所有小径都通往更高的打谷场。那上面空气猛烈。
 

随着描述落日的米诺安壁画在远处脱落
海岸草棚的火褪去
老太太们爬到了岩石凿出的阶梯上
她们坐在伟大之石上用眼睛编织大海
她们坐下数星星就像数着家传的银器
天晚了她们就下来,去喂孙儿们米索隆的火药。
 

确实,那监禁的王子被铐的双手如此悲哀
但是他的眉毛在严厉的眼睛之上搅动,如欲坠的岩石。
波浪不理会如何去乞求,从深处升起
从更远的高处,带着它血管里的树脂和肺里的香草,空气翻滚下来。
 

啊,它一阵风就能扫去记忆的橘树
啊,它吹过两次,坚硬的岩石就会如引信般打出火花
啊,它吹过三次,帕纳塞斯山的枞树林就会汹涌
就会一拳砸碎专横
就会拽住夜晚之熊的鼻环在堡垒上为我们跳恰米卡舞
月亮也会打起手鼓直至岛屿的阳台挤满了半醒的孩子和苏利奥公社的母亲们。
 

每个早晨,那伟大的山谷的信使都会到来,
脸上汗涔涔阳光闪烁
他的臂膀紧紧夹住希腊人魂
就像在教堂里,工人握住帽子。
时机已经到来了,他说,做好准备。
每一个小时都属于我们。
 

IV
汉子们不屑饥饿,他们直接迈向黎明,
不动声色的眼中凝固着一颗星星
肩上扛着受伤的夏天。
 

队伍经过这里,旗帜贴着他们的皮肤
倔强咬在嘴里像咬住酸涩的野梨
他们军靴里有月光的沙子
鼻孔和耳朵塞满夜的煤屑。
 

一颗颗树,一块块石,他们经历世界
他们经受荆棘当枕的睡眠。
承载的生活在他们晒焦的双手中如河流注入。
 

每前进一步他们就赢得几尺天空——去赠与。
在瞭望台里,他们寂静如烧焦的树
而当他们在广场上跳舞
屋子里天花板抖动,架子上玻璃器具碰撞发出响声。
 

啊,什么歌声地动山摇——
他们把月亮的大盘放在膝上用餐
他们会从心底发出一声叹息
当他们要用厚厚的指甲掐碎虱子时。
 

谁会在夜里及时送上温暖的面包让你可延续美梦?
谁会橄榄树荫下陪伴知了以免它陷入沉寂
既然中午的石灰水涂满了地平线的石墙
正在擦去他们伟大雄壮的名字?
 

这片土地破晓时分喷香
这片土地是他们的也是我们的——他们的血液——何等芬芳自大地散发!——
那么现在我们的葡萄园怎么对我们关上了门
光亮怎么在根和树上已褪去
谁愿意承认一半人生在地下,
另一半在牢狱?
 

阳光和这么多树叶向你问候美好一天
飘扬这么多旗帜的天空发着光
可是这些汉子在狱中,那些已在地下。
 

肃静——现在钟随时都会敲响。
这片土地是他们的也是我们的。
地面下,在他们握在一起的双手中
他们握住钟绳等待着时辰到来,他们不睡,他们永不死亡
等待宣告重生。这片土地
是他们的也是我们的——谁也不能拿走。
 

v
下午他们坐在橄榄树下
用粗大的手指筛着灰蒙蒙的光
他们脱下弹夹袋,估量着还需跋涉多少夜路
还需经受野锦葵丛中的多少苦痛
多少勇气在那个举着旗子光着脚的孩子眼中。
 

最后的燕子在平原上徘徊太久,
好像秋天袖子上的黑带子盘旋在空中。
没剩下别的什么。只有烧毁的房屋仍有暗火。
 

那些躺在石头下的不久前离开了我们,
他们的衬衣撕开,他们的誓言写在坍塌的门道。
没人哭泣。我们没有时间。但是沉寂迅速扩散
光亮落在海滩上干净利落,如同被杀女子的管家。
 

当雨水渗入带有悬铃木腐叶的地面,他们会怎样
当太阳晒干云的床单如同农夫床上掐瘪的臭虫,
当傍晚不朽的雪鹳站在烟囱上,又会发生什么?
年迈的母亲们把盐抛到火里,把土撒在他们的头发上
她们把莫奈姆瓦夏的葡萄园连根拔起,生怕还有一粒黑葡萄甜了敌人的嘴
她们把祖上的尸骨和银器一起装进麻袋
徘徊在夜晚故乡的城墙外寻找着扎根之地。
 

现在相比樱桃树的表达再没有更加无力,冷酷的词语——
别忘记那些留在战场上或山岗上和海底下的手——
我们不会忘记他们的手
那些在枪机上磨出老茧的手难以去要一枝雏菊
去跪着说谢谢,在书上,在星光的胸膛。
 

这样太费时。我们就必须大声说。
直到他们获得面包和公正。
 

黎明,双桨陷在暴风骤雨的沙滩上。船在哪?
一副犁插入地面,风刮起。
地面烧焦了。耕地的农夫在哪?
橄榄树,葡萄园和房屋——成了灰烬。
吝啬的夜晚和她的星星藏在一只袜子里。
干燥的月桂叶和牛至草藏在壁橱里。火无法企及。
一只漆黑的水壶在壁炉里——只有水在锁着的屋子里沸腾。
他们来不及吃饭。
 

烧毁的门页上是森林的静脉——血在里面流动。
而且那里有熟悉的脚步声。是谁?
熟悉的脚步声带有鞋钉,在攀登。
岩石中根在爬行。有人正过来。
口令,回口令。是兄弟。晚上好。
 

原来是这样,光会找到它的树,树总有一天会找到它的果实。
死去男人的火药桶仍然有水和光。
晚上好,我的兄弟。你知道这个。晚上好。
在她的木屋,落日老太卖着香料和线。
没人在买。他们身处高地。
很难下来。
他们甚至不知道自己的高度。
 

勇敢的年轻人夜间就餐过的打谷场上,
剩下橄榄窖和月亮的血迹
连同他们武器中民谣的节奏。
 

第二天麻雀吃了他们军队配给的面包屑,
用他们点烟的火柴与星星的刺,孩子们制造玩具。
 

下午他们在橄榄树下坐着的那块岩石,面向大海,
明天将在炉中成为石灰,
后天我们将用来粉刷房子和救世主的门阶
那之后我们将把种子播在他们长眠的地方
一枚石榴花蕾将会盛开,像吮吸着阳光乳汁的婴儿发出第一声笑。
 

再后来我们仍然会坐在那岩石上阅读他们全部的心
犹如我们第一次在阅读世界历史。
 

VI
因此伴随着拥向大海的,粉饰着对面时下海滩的太阳
门闩和干渴的折磨两倍三倍地增加着
从一开始就积累的老伤复发了
炎热下烤焦的心也像门前的阿尔戈斯洋葱。
 

他们的手越来越像大地
他们的眼睛越来越类似天空。
 

土油罐空了。底下有沉积物。是死耗子。
母亲的勇气随同这油罐和贮水池一起流失了。
荒凉的桉树散发着刺鼻的火药味。
 

现在哪里你能为圣芭芭拉的灯找来灯油
为熏香黄昏的镀金偶像找来薄荷
为乞丐的夜找来一口面包,可以让她用里拉琴弹奏星辰之歌。
 

仙人掌和水仙在岛屿高高的堡垒里已变成了阴魂。
大地被炮火和坟墓翻了个底朝天。
炸开的司令部被天空打上补丁。再没有一点空隙
给更多的死者。那里没有地方供悲伤站立和梳辫子。
 

烧毁的房子透过空洞的眼窝看见远处大理石纹的海洋
子弹契入在墙壁里
像刀子刺进那捆在柏树上的圣人的肋骨。
 

一整天死人都在躺着晒太阳。
只有当夜晚降临,将士们用肚子在熏黑的岩石上拖行,
他们用鼻孔搜索死亡之外的气息,
他们嚼着一块靴底寻找月亮的鞋子,
他们用拳头击打岩石希望有水滴流动
但是对面的墙已经塌陷
他们又听见旋转的炮弹落入海里
他们再一次听见大门前伤员的惨叫。
 

你能去哪里?你的兄弟在召唤你。
夜晚到处都由外国船只的阴影筑成。
道路被残垣断壁堵塞。
只有通往高地的路仍然畅通。
他们诅咒这些船,咬自己的舌头
在还未变成白骨之前用来确认自己的努力。
 

被屠杀的军官们在女墙上站着,仍然守护着要塞。
他们的肉体在衣服底下腐烂。嗨,兄弟,你不累吗?
子弹在你的心脏已经含苞欲放,
五朵风信子从干燥的岩石的腋下发芽,
一次一次地呼吸,芬芳的气味讲述那个童话——你忘了吗?
一口一口地咬,伤口告诉你生活的奥秘,
甘菊从你脚趾甲的污垢长出
告诉你有关世界的美。
 

你握住手。这是你自己的,带着海水的湿咸。
海是你自己的。当你从沉默的头上拔除一根头发
无花果树就滴下苦涩的汁液。无论你在哪里,天空看着你。
 

如同手指间的香烟,黄昏星滚动着你的灵魂
因此你躺着吸着你灵魂的烟卷
在清澈,满是星星的夜晚里弄湿你的左手,
你的右手不离来福枪,像是许配与你的人
记得天空从未忘却你
当你从口袋深处拿出你的旧信
用烧焦的手指展开月亮,阅读勇气和光荣。
 

不一会儿,你将登顶在你岛屿的了望台上
把星星当作引信,向空中开一枪
越过墙垣和桅杆
越过如中弹的士兵一样弯腰的山峦
只为了吓跑鬼魂,把它们赶进阴影的盖子——
你将直接一枪打向天空的胸膛击中天蓝的目标
仿佛透过宽松的上衣你会发现女人的乳头
她明天会给你的孩子吃奶
仿佛过了多年后,你将找到自己祖屋的门把。
 

VII
房屋,道路,仙人掌,院子里正在啄太阳外壳的雏鸡。
我们熟知它们,它们也熟知我们。来到这里,在黑莓丛中
树蛇蜕去了她黄色的皮。
 

往里是蚂蚁的小屋,黄蜂的筑有众多城垛的堡垒;
在同一棵橄榄树上,是去年的蝉壳,今年的蝉鸣
乳香树上你的影子像沉默的狗一样跟着你,经受着苦难,
是一条忠实的狗——下午他坐在你泥土里的睡眠旁,闻着夹竹桃,
傍晚蜷缩在你的脚上望着星星。
 

这儿有长在夏天腿上的,梨的静止
角豆树根旁游荡的,水的困意——
春天有三个熟睡的孤儿在她的围裙上
一只半死的老鹰在她的眼睛里
在那高处,松林背后
乡间圣约翰隐士礼拜堂像白色的麻雀粪
在宽大的桑树上叶烘烤的太阳下干透。
 

这裹着羊皮的牧羊人
每根毛发里都有一条河流
他的每一个笛孔里都有一个橡树林
他的牧杖有着和那只桨同样的树结,它率先在赫勒斯蓬特海峡的蓝色里划行。
 

无需纪念。悬铃木树的叶脉里
有你的血液。也有海岛水仙和刺山柑。
 

在正午,无言的井升起了
黑玻璃和白色的风的,圆圆的声响
圆得像土罐——古代同样地声响。
 

每晚,月亮把死者反转过来让他们躺好
查看他们的面孔,用冰冷的手指寻找她的儿子
依据下巴上的伤口和他石头般的眉毛;
她摸他们的口袋。她总会找到一些东西。我们总是发现一些东西。
一小片十字架吊坠。一个掐灭的烟蒂。
一把钥匙,一封信,一只停在七点钟的表。我们把表重新上好发条。时间向前行进。
 

当明天,他们的衣服烂掉,他们裸露在军装的纽扣下
像夏天星星环绕的一片天空,
像月桂树林间的一条河,
像早春柠檬树间的小径,
然后我们会找到他们的名字并大声呼喊:我爱。
 

然后。但再次,那些事物看来也许有点远,
又有点太近,在你正抓住黑暗中的手说晚上好
他带着流放者苦涩的恩惠回到故乡
甚至自己的亲人也不接受他,因为他熟知死亡
因为他知晓前世后生
他却接受他们。他不怨恨。明天他一定会说。他确信
这最长的道路是通往上帝心灵最短的路。
 

在这样的时刻,当月光带着悲痛在他脖子上亲吻
在阳台栏杆上弹落烟灰,他会哭泣,因为他的确信
他会哭泣,因为树、星星、以及他的兄弟们的确信。
 

1945——1947于雅典
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[ 此帖被姜海舟在2015-05-03 16:35重新编辑 ]
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1楼  发表于: 2015-05-03   主页: http://blog.sina.com.cn/u/1147554082
ROMIOSINI

BY YANNIS RITSOS



I

Those trees are not made for a lesser sky,

those rocks are not made for the heels of strangers,

those faces are made only for the sun,

those hearts are made only for justice.



This place is as harsh as silence,

clasps its fiery stones to its breast,

clasps in light its orphaned olive trees and vineyards,

clenches the teeth. There is no water-only light.

The road is lost in light and the shadow of the wall is iron.



Trees, rivers and voices have turned to marble in the whitewash of the sun.

The root stumbles on the marble. The dusty lentisks.

The mule and the rock. They gasp. No water .

All are thirsty. For years now. All chew a mouthful of sky to choke down their bitterness.



Their eyes are red from the vigil

a deep line wedged between their eyebrows

like a cypress between two mountains at sunset.



Their hand is glued to the gun

the gun is an extension of their arm

their arm is an extension of their soul—

they have wrath upon their lips

and grief, deep deep within their eyes,

like a star in a salt pit.



When they tighten their grip, the sun is certain for the world

when they smile, a small swallow flees from within their fierce beards

when they sleep, twelve stars fall from heir empty pockets

when they are killed, life marches up high with banners and with drums.



For so many years all are hungry, all are thirsty, all are killed

besieged by land and sea,

scorching heat devoured their fields and the brine drenched their houses

the wind knocked down their doors and the few lilac trees in the square

death comes and goes through the holes in their overcoats

their tongues are as acrid as cypress cones

their dogs died wrapped in their shadows

the rain beats down on their bones.



Stone-still in their lookouts, they smoke cow dung and the night

and keep watch over the frenzied sea where

the broken mast of the moon has sunk.



The bread gone, the bullets gone

now they load their cannons only with their hearts.



So many years besieged by land and sea

all are starved, all are killed, and no one has died—

in their lookouts their eyes glow

an enormous banner, an enormous fire flame-red

and at every dawn thousands of doves soar out of their hands

toward the four gates of the horizon.



II

Each time night falls with the singed thyme at the bosom of the rock

there's a drop of water that for ages now digs to the marrow of silence

there's a bell hung from the old plane tree and it cries out the years.



Sparks sleep lightly on the cinders of desolation

and the roofs ponder the gilded down on the upperlip of July

—yellow down like the cornsilk smoked by the sorrow of sunset.



The Holy Virgin lies down amid the myrtles with her wide skirt stained by grapes.

On the road a child cries and is answered from the plain by the ewe who has lost her little ones.



Shade at the spring. The water in the barrel is ice cold.

The farrier's daughter with soaked feet.

Bread and olives on the table,

the lantern of the evening star in the vine-trellis

and high up there, turning on its spit, the galaxy gives off aromas

of sizzling fat, garlic and pepper.



Oh, what starbright of silk will still be needed

for the pineneedles to embroider "This, too, will pass" into the singed wall of summer

how much longer will the mother wring her heart over the slaughter of her seven brave lads

before the light finds its way up the steep road of her soul?



This bone that emerges from the earth

measures yard by yard the earth and the strings of the lute

and the lute and violin from evening to daybreak

tell their sorrows to the mint and pinetrees

and the riggings on the ships vibrate like strings

and the sailor drinks the bitter sea from the cup of Odysseus.



Ah, who then will block the entrance and which sword will cut the courage

and what key will lock the heart, its window-shutters wide open

as it watches the star-sown gardens of God?



Great is the hour, like Saturday nights in May at the sailors' tavern

great is the night, like the pan on the tinker's wall

great is the ballad, like the bread at the sponge-fisher's supper.



And there, the Cretan moon rushes downhill on the shingles

tap, tap, with twenty rows of cleats on its boots

and there they are, those who go up and down the stairs of Náfplion

filling their pipes with coarse-cut leaves of darkness,

their moustaches, star-sprinkled thyme of Roúmeli

and their teeth like pine-roots in the rock and salt of the Aegean.



Into the chains they went and into the fire, they talked with the stones

they treated Death to raki in their grandfather's skull;

on those same Threshing-Floors they met Digenis and sat down to dinner

slicing their sorrow in two, just as they broke their barley-loaves on their knees.



Come, lady of the briny lashes, with smoke-gilded hand

from the care of the poor, and from the many years—

love awaits you among the rushes

in his cave the seagull hangs your blackened icon

and the embittered sea urchin kisses your toenail.



Within the black grape of the vineyard the must bubbles bright-red

the berry bubbles in the burnt holly

in the earth, the root of the dead asks for water to bring forth a fir tree

and a mother holds tight a knife beneath her wrinkles.



Come, lady who broods over the golden eggs of the thunder,

when, on which sea-blue day will you remove your kerchief and take up arms again

so that May's hail will strike your forehead

so that the sun will burst like a pomegranate in your homespun apron

so that alone you will divide him seed by seed among your twelve orphans

so that the sea will glitter all around, like the blade of the sword and April's snow,

so that the crab will emerge onto the pebbles to sun himself and cross his claws.



III

Over here the sky doesn't sap the oil of our eyes even for a moment

over here the sun shoulders half the weight of the rock we're always lifting on our backs.

Roof tiles break without gasp under the knee of noon

people walk ahead of their own shadows like the dolphins before the caiques of Skiathos

later their shadow becomes an eagle that dyes his wings in the sunset

and later still perches on their heads and thinks of the stars

when they lie down on the sun porch amidst the black raisin.



Over here every door has a name carved on it, a name some three thousand years old

every rock has painted on it a saint with wild eyes and rope-like hair

every man has a red mermaid tattooed on his left arm, stitch by stitch

every girl has a fistful of salted light under her skirt

and the children have five or six small golden crosses on their hearts

like gulls' tracks on the afternoon sand.



You don't have to remember. We know it.

All trails lead to the Upper-Threshing-Floors. Up there the air's sharp.



When the Minoan fresco of sunset frays in the distance

and the fire in the haylofts of the shore dies out

the old women climb up this far on the steps carved in the rock

they sit on the Great Rock and spin the sea like thread with their eyes

they sit and count the stars as if they were counting their heirloom silverware

and down they climb late in the day to feed their grandchildren the gunpowder of Messolonghi.



Yes, truly, the Chained One has such sad hands in shackles

but his eyebrow stirs above his bitter eye like a rock that's always about to come loose.

From deep down the wave arises that heeds no entreaties

from way up high, the air rolls down with resin in its vein and sage in its lung.



Ah, it'll blow once to sweep the orange trees of memory

ah, it'll blow twice so the iron rock will strike a spark like a percussion cap

ah, it'll blow three times and drive the fir woods mad in Liákoura

and strike a blow with its fist smashing tyranny to pieces

and jerk the bear of night by her nose ring to dance for us a tsámiko on the bulwarks

and the moon will play the tambourine till the islands' balconies are filled with crowds of

half-awakened children and Souliot mothers.



A messenger arrives every morning from the Great Ravine,

on his face the sweaty sun shines

under his arm he holds on firmly to Romiosyni

as the worker holds on to his cap in church.

The time has come, he says. Be ready.

Each hour belongs to us.



IV

With the hungry man's disdain they marched straight ahead into the dawn,

in their motionless eyes a star had congealed

on their shoulders they carried the wounded summer.



The army passed through here, banners next to the skin

clenching obstinance in their teeth like an unripe wild pear

with the sand of the moon in their boots

and the coaldust of night stuck in their nostrils and ears.



Tree by tree, rock by rock they passed through the world

with thorns as pillows they passed through sleep.

In their two parched hands they carried life like a river.



With each step they'd win another fathom of sky-to give it away.

In their lookouts they'd turn stone-still like burnt trees

and when they danced in the square

ceilings shook in the houses and glassware rattled on the shelves.



Ah, what song jolted the mountaintops—

between their knees they held the platter of the moon and they'd eat

and they'd break the sigh in the depths of their hearts

as they would crush a louse between their two thick fingernails.



Who'll bring you now the warm loaf of bread in the night so you can feed the dreams?

Who'll keep the cicada company in the shadow of the olive tree so the cicada won't fall silent

now that the whitewash of noon paints the wall of the horizon all around

erasing their great manly names?



This earth was fragrant at dawn

this earth that was both theirs and ours-their blood-what aromas the earth gave off!—

and now how is it that our vineyards have locked their door to us

how has the light thinned out on roofs and trees

who can bear to say that half lie beneath the earth,

the other half in chains?



With so many leaves the sun bids you a good-day

with so many banners the sky shines

and yet these men are in chains and those in the ground.



Keep quiet-any moment now the bells will toll.

This earth is theirs and ours.

Beneath the earth, in their crossed hands

they hold the bellrope waiting for the hour, they do not sleep, they never die

waiting to sound the resurrection. This earth

is theirs and ours-no one can take it from us.



v

In the afternoon they sat under the olive trees

sifting the ashy light with their thick fingers

they took off their cartridge belts and figured how much toil could fit into the path of night

how much bitterness in the knots of the wild mallow

how much courage into the eyes of the barefoot child who was holding the flag.



The last swallow had lingered too long on the plain,

was hovering in the air like a black band on the sleeve of autumn.

Nothing else remained. Only the burnt-out houses smoldered still.



Those lying under the rocks left us some time ago,

their shirts torn and their oath written on the fallen door.

No one cried. We had no time. But the silence quickly widened

and the light down on the beach was neat and tidy like the household of the murdered woman.



What'll happen to them now when the rain seeps into the ground

with the rotting leaves of the plane tree?

what'll happen when the sun dries on the cloud's blanket

like a crushed bedbug on the farmer's bed

when the stork of snow stands embalmed on the chimney in the evening?

The aged mothers cast salt in the fire, scatter earth over their hair

they uproot the vineyards of Monemvasia lest even one black grape sweeten the enemy's mouth

they put their grandfathers' bones along with the silverware into a sack

and wander outside the walls of their homeland searching for a place to sink roots in the night.



Now it'll be hard for us to find words less powerful, less stony than that of the cherry tree—

those hands that stayed in the fields or on the mountains or under the sea do not forget—

it'll be hard for us to forget their hands

hard for the hands that got callouses from the trigger to ask a daisy

to say thank you on their knees, on a book, on the starlight's breast.



It'll take time. And we must speak up.

Until they find their bread and their justice.

Two oars stuck in the sand at dawn in the storm. Where' s the boat?

A plow thrust into the ground and the wind blows.

The ground's burnt. Where' s the plowman?

The olive tree, the vineyard and the house---ashes.

Stingy night with her stars in a sock.

Dry bay leaves and oregano in the wall cupboard. Untouched by the fire.

A blackened kettle in the fireplace---only the water boiling

in the locked-up house. They had no time to eat.



On the burnt door-leaf the veins of the forest---blood flows in the veins.

And there's the familiar step. Who is it?

The familiar step with the spikes, climbing.

The crawling of the root in the rock. Someone's coming.

The password, the countersign. A brother. Good evening.



So then, the light will find its trees, and one day the tree will find its fruit.

The flask of the dead man still has water and light.

Good evening, my brother. You know it. Good evening.

In her wooden hut old Lady Sunset sells spices and thread.

No one's buying. They made for the high ground.

Hard now to come down.

Hard even to tell their height.



On the threshing-floor where the brave young men ate one night,

olive pits and the dried blood of the moon are left

along with the folk meter of their guns.



The next day the sparrows ate the crumbs from their bread ration,

from matches that lit their cigarettes and the thorns of the stars, the children made toys.



And the rock on which they sat under the olive trees in the afternoon, facing the sea,

will become quicklime in the kiln tomorrow,

the day after tomorrow we'll whitewash our houses and the doorstep of St. Savior

the day after that we'll plant the seed where they slept

and a pomegranate bud will burst like a baby's first laugh at the breast of sunshine.



And later still we'll sit on the rock to read all their hearts

as if we were reading for the first time the history of the world.



VI

And so with the sun in the breast of the sea whitewashing the opposite slope of the day

the bolt and torture of thirst are reckoned double and triple

the old wound is reckoned from the beginning

and the heart's scorched in the heat like Argive onions in front of the doors.



More and more their hands look like the earth

more and more their eyes resemble the sky.



The clay oil jug is empty. Some sediment at the bottom. And the dead mouse.

The mother's courage has drained away along with the clay jug and the cistern.

The gums of desolation are acrid with gunpowder.



Where will you find the oil now for Saint Barbara's lamp

the mint for censing the gilded icon of evening

the bite of bread for beggar-night so she'll play you her star-song on the lyra.



In the fort of the island heights, prickly pears and asphodels have turned to ghosts.

The earth's been plowed by cannon fire and graves.

Ruined Headquarters patched with sky. There's no room at all

for any more dead. No room for grief to stand and braid her hair.



Through empty eye sockets the burnt houses see the marbled sea in the distance

and the bullets are wedged into the walls

like knives in the ribs of the Saint tied to the cypress.



All day long, the dead sun themselves, lying on their backs.

And only when evening falls the soldiers drag themselves on their bellies over blackened rocks,

with their nostrils they search the air outside of death,

chewing a piece of boot sole they search the moon's shoes,

with their fists they strike the rock to let the waterdrop run

but on the other side the wall's hollow

they hear again the whirling artillery shell falling into the sea

and once again they hear screaming of the wounded in front of the gate.



Where can you go? Your brother's calling you.

Night's built all around with shadows of foreign ships.

The roads are blocked by fallen walls.

Only toward the heights is the road still open.

And they curse the boats and bite their tongues

to feel their pain that's not yet turned to bone.



On the parapets stand the slaughtered captains guarding the fort.

Under their clothes their flesh decays. Hey, brother, aren't you tired?

The bullet in your heart has budded,

five hyacinths sprouted from the armpit of the dry rock,

breath by breath the sweet scent tells the fairy tale-don' t you remember?

Bite by bite, the wound tells you about life,

the camomile sprouted from the dirt of your toenail

tells you about the beauty of the world.



You grasp the hand. It's your own, brine-damp.

The sea's your own. When you uproot a hair from the head of silence

the milk of the fig tree drips bitter. Wherever you are, the sky sees you.



The evening star rolls your soul like a cigarette in his fingers

so you can smoke your soul as you lie on your back

wetting your left hand in the clear, starry night

and, glued to your right hand, your rifle, your betrothed

remember that the sky has never forgotten you

when you take your old letter from your inside pocket

and, unfolding the moon with your burnt fingers, read of courage and glory.



Later you'll climb way up to your island lookout

and using a star as a percussion cap pull off a shot in the air

over walls and masts

over mountains stooped like wounded soldiers

just to scare the ghosts away and drive them into the shadow's cover—

you'll fire a shot straight at the breast of the heavens to hit the sky-blue target

as though you'll find through her blouse the woman's nipple

who tomorrow will breastfeed your child

as though you'll find after years have passed the handle of the door of your ancestral house.



VII

The house, the road, the prickly pears, the chickens pecking at the sun's rinds in the yard.

We know them, they know us. Down here among the brambles

the tree-snake has shed her yellow skin.



Down here's the ant's hut and the wasp's tower with its many battlements;

in the same olive tree the shell of last year's cicada, the voice of this year's cicada

in the lentisks your shadow that follows you like a silent dog, long suffering,

a faithful dog-afternoons he sits next to your earthen sleep and smells the oleanders,

evenings he curls up at your feet and looks at a star.



There's a stillness of pears that grow at the legs of summer

a drowsiness of water idling about at the roots of the carob tree—

spring has three sleeping orphans on her apron

an eagle half dead in her eyes

and high up there, behind the pine forest

the country chapel of Saint John of the Fast dries out

like the sparrow's white dropping that the heat dries on a broad mulberry leaf.



This shepherd wrapped in his sheepskin

has a dry river in every hair of his body

has an oak forest in every hole of his flute

and his staff has the same knots as the oar that first stroked the blue of the Hellespont.



You don't have to remember. The plane tree's vein

has your blood. And the island asphodel and the caper.



At high noon the speechless well raises up

a round voice of black glass and white wind

round like old clay jars-the same ancient voice.



Every night the moon turns the dead over on their backs

searches their faces with frozen fingers to find her son

by the cut of his jaw and his stone eyebrows;

she searches their packets. She'll always find something. We always find something.

A locket with a splinter of the Cross. A stubbed-out cigaretter.

A key, a letter, a watch stopped at seven. Again we wind the watch. Time marches on.



When tomorrow their clothes rot away and they're left naked amidst the buttons of their uniform

like pieces of sky left among the summer stars,

like a river between laurel shrubs,

like a footpath meandering between lemon trees in early spring,

then maybe we'll find their names and shout: I love.



Then. But again, those things seem perhaps a little far off,

and yet a little too close, as when you grasp a hand in the darkness and say Good evening

with the bitter kindness of the exile when he returns home

and not even his own people recognize him because he has known death

and he has known the life before life and beyond death

and he recognizes them. He is not bitter. Tomorrow, he says. And he's sure

that the longest road is the shortest to God's heart.



And at the hour when the moon kisses him with some distress on the neck,

flicking his cigarette ash through the balcony railing, he may cry because of his certainty

he may cry because of the certainty of the trees and the stars and his brothers.



Athens 1945-1947





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