Τρίτη, 15 Μαΐου 2012

AGELAKI ROUK KATERINA b. 1939 Athens
















THE OTHER PENELOPE

Penelope emerges from the olive trees
her hair more or less tidy
her dress from the neighborhood market
navy blue with white flowers.
She tells us it wasn't obsession
with the idea of "Odysseus"
that pressed her to let the suitors
wait for years in the forecourts
of her body's secret habits.
There in the island s palace —
with the fake horizons
of a saccharine love
and only the bird in the window
comprehending the infinite –
she had painted with nature's colors
the portrait of love.
Seated, one leg crossed over the other,
holding a cup of coffee
up early, a little grumpy, smiling a little
he emerges warm from the down of sleep.
His shadow on the wall:
trace of a piece of furniture just taken away
blood of an ancient murder
a single performance of Karagiozi
on the screen, pain always behind him.
Love and pain indivisible
like the pail and the child
on the sandy beach
the ah! and a crystal glass that slipped from one's hand
the green fly and the slaughtered animal
the soil and the shovel
the naked body and the single sheet in July.

And Penelope who now hears
the evocative music of fear
the cymbals of resignation
the sweet song of a quiet day
without sudden changes of weather and tone
the complex chords
of an infinite gratitude
for what did not happen, was not said, cannot be uttered
she signals no, no, no more loving
no more words and whispers
caresses and bites
small cries in the darkness
scent of flesh that burns in the light.
Pain was the most exquisite suitor
and she slammed the door on him.
Translated by Edmund Keeley and Mary Keeley



SAYS  PENELOPE

                                                                And your absence teaches me 
                                                                what art could not 
                                                                Daniel Weissborc 

I wasn't weaving, I wasn't knitting, 
some writing I would start and erase
under the weight of the word
for perfect expression is hindered
when pain squeezes the inside self.
And though absence is the theme of my life
-absence from life -
crying comes out on the paper and the physical grief of the
body that is deprived.

I erase, I tear up, I smother
the live cries
"where are you, come, I'm waiting
this spring is not like the others"
and I start again in the morning
with new birds and white sheets
drying in the sun.
You will never be here
to water the flowers with the hose
the old ceilings dripping
heavy with rain
and my individuality
dissolved into yours
quietly, autumnlike
Your exquisite heart
- exquisite, for I chose it -
will always be elsewhere
and with words I'll keep cutting
the threads that tie me
to the very man
I long for
until Odysseus becomes a symbol of Longing
and sails the seas
in everyone's mind.
I passionately forget you
every day
so that you wash out the sins
of your smell and sweetness
and once spotlessly clean,
you enter immortality.
It is hard work and thankless.
My only reward if
I finally understand what human presence is,
what absence,
or how the self functions
within such emptiness,
such length of time,
how nothing stops tomorrow
the body keeps remaking itself
rising and falling on the bed
as though being hewn
now sick and now in love
hoping
that what it loses in touch
it gains in essence.
Translated by CHRISTINA  LAZARIDI



 TRANSLATING INTO LOVE LIFE’S END

Since I cannot touch you 
with my tongue 
I translate my passion. 
I cannot communicate 
so I transubstantiate; 
I cannot undress you 
so I dress you with the fantasy 
of a foreign tongue. 
Under your wings 
I cannot nestle 
so I fly around you 
turning the pages of your dictionary. 
I want to know how you strip 
how you open up 
so 1 look for your habits 
in between your lines 
for your favourite fruit 
your favourite smells 
girls you leaf through. 
I'll never see your punctuation marks 
naked, 1 work hard on your adjectives 
so that I can recite them in the susurrations 
of another religion. 
But my story has aged 
my volume adorns no shelf 
and I imagine you now 
with a rare gold leather binding 
in a foreign library. 
Because I should never 
have indulged in the luxury of nostalgia 
and written this poem 
I am reading the gray sky now 
in a sun-drenched translation.



http://poeticanet.com/en

image :   Piraeus Port   Copyright © 2009 Vassilis Makris