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Reading Elytis


I am looking forward to a tribute to Elytis this Friday.

I was reading some of his poems and about his life. I am going to put some excerpts here just as a reminder of how beautiful his work is.

Not limiting itself to what is, but stretching itself to what can be. […] The inner step required by the approach of the Angel’s form is, in my opinion, infinitely more painful than the other, which gives birth to Demons of all kinds.

There, this could be yet another definition of poetry: the art of approaching that which surpasses us.

That is why we have a great need of transparency. To clearly perceive the knots of this thread running throughout the centuries and aiding us to remain upright on this earth.

These knots, these ties, we see them distinctly, from Heraclitus to Plato and from Plato to Jesus. Having reached us in various forms they tell us the same thing: that it is in the inside of this world that the other world is contained, that it is with the elements of this world that the other world is recombined, the hereafter, that second reality situated above the one where we live unnaturally.

Poetry is the only place where the power of numbers proves to be nothing

It is not enough to put our dreams into verse. It is too little. It is not enough to politicize our speech. It is too much. The material world is really only an accumulation of materials. It is for us to show ourselves to be good or bad architects, to build Paradise or Hell. This is what poetry never ceases affirming to us – and particularly in these dürftiger times – just this: that in spite of everything our destiny lies in our hands.

Quotes from Nobel speech

On the open sea they lay in wait for me,
With triple-masted men-of-war they bombarded me,
My sin that I too had a love of my own
Mother far away, my Everlasting Rose.

The blood of love (Της αγάπης αίματα)

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

This wind that loiters (Αυτός ο αγέρας)

Dear God what now
Who had to battle with thousands
and not only his loneliness
He who knew with a single word
how to slake the thirst of entire worlds

From whom they had taken everything

Death and resurrection of Constantinos Palaeologus (Θάνατος και Ανάστασις του Κωνσταντίνου Παλαιολόγου)

I know that all this is worthless and that the language
I speak doesn’t have an alphabet

Gift silver poem (Δώρο Ασημένιο Ποίημα)

O Hesperos, sentinel, that you may shine by the side
Of a skyblue breeze on an island which dreams

I know the night no longer (Δε ξέρω πια τη νύχτα)


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