Giorgos Seferis

Ephemeral issue of a vicious daemon and a harsh fate,

SILENUS TO MIDAS*IThe house near the sea*The houses I had they took away from me. The timeshappened to be unpropitious: war, destruction, exile;sometimes the hunter hits the migratory birds,sometimes he doesn’t hit them. Huntingwas good in my time, many felt the pellet;the rest circle aimlessly or go mad in the shelters.Don’t talk to me about…

In The Goddess’ Name I Summon You

Oil on limbs,maybe a rancid smellas on the chapel’soil-press here,as on the rough poresof the unturning stone.Oil on hairwreathed in ropeand maybe other scentsunknown to uspoor and richand statuettes offeringsmall breasts with their fingers.Oil in the sunthe leaves shudderedwhen the stranger stoppedand the silence weighedbetween the knees.The coins fell:‘In the goddess’s name I summon you…’Oil…

The skyscrapers of New York will never know the coolness that comes down on Kifisia

with the paintings of the damned being tortured in fire and brimstonethen I recall the two chimneys behind the cedars I used to like so much when I was abroad.All through March rheumatism wracked your lovely loins and in summer you went to Aidipsos.God! what a struggle it is for life to keep going, as…

All morning long we looked around the citadel*

green and without luster—breast of a slain peacock—received us like time without an opening in it.Veins of rock dropped down from high above,twisted vines, naked, many-branched, coming aliveat the water’s touch, while the eye following themstruggled to escape the tiresome rocking,losing strength continually.On the sunny side a long empty beachand the light striking diamonds on…

I

yet you bent like the secret about to be releasedand the command you chose to give us was beautifuland your smile was like a ready sword.The ascent of your cycle livened creationfrom your thorn emerged the way’s thoughtour impulse dawned naked to possess youthe world was easy: a simple pulsation.IIThe secrets of the sea are…

The day was cloudy. No one could come to a decision;

A few slender cypresses nailed to the slope, and, beyond, the seagrey with shining pools.The soldiers presented arms as it began to drizzle.‘Not a north-easter, the sirocco,’ was the only decision heard.And yet we knew that by the following dawnnothing would be left to us, neither the woman drinking sleep at our sidenor the memory…