Only the spirit gives birth to unfading roses
and only art creates perfection.
With all the pluses and minuses of history
and of the soul of man
the verses of Homer,
the statues of Michelangelo
and the grey of Theotokopoulos continually expand.

Only things useless in the material world
can stay the same and change
according to their position and according to time,
with the agony of the soul and the projection of the mind,
accepting only addition and multiplication.

Often, all else falls into the minus
and into division, becoming stages of transition
for the orchestration of the crime.

If there is hope that, at the end, something will last,
that is the soul and the otherwise useless things
that are her bread, her water, and her honey.


Translated by Irena Ioannides




Three thousand years now, the river of Heraclitus flows
with the wisest maxim of all time
and, more and more, we wish to enter it a second time.
The mind knows and the dream doubts,
since, time and again, everything takes place inside it.

Yet, twice you shall never meet a woman you have loved
and even if you do,
the town you have left, twice you shall never find.

The years do not depart empty-handed. Laden as they are,
one by one, they fall and they shatter
in a way that can never be mended.

Only dream returns to what cannot be turned back
and only poetry mends has been shattered

Translated by Irena Ioannides




As I walk, I feel my body elongating
like the caper’s root, arriving at subterranean currents.
My name stretches to the root of the tongue,
I fall whole in the molten lava of history
that never runs cold.

At times, I think that I was with the gladiators
at times, thrown in the arena with the slaves
but on the bleachers, with the roaring crowd, I have never been
and over governors, I have always preferred poets.

The day would have give birth at once, to great deeds and great crimes
and all of it, together, in parallel, and at the same time,
shouts at the centuries from the Colosseum’s tiers.

Hung like a cloth on the line, the soul of man
collects light in some places, in other places darkness.
A sundry basket of races, History
advances with great additions and great subtractions.

Translated by Irena Ioannides




A room of the Middle Ages, in an ancient castle
An internment space for bishops and laymen,
it now hosted a music concert.

The tombs, enclosing whatever was left from their old inhabitants,
stare open, covered with transparent glass
on which the audience are seated.
Notes from Bach, solo violin, and instrumentals
fill the place up and it seems it is ready to soar.

Long was the journey of the wood
until the time it was transformed into a violin
and longer that of man until he was able
to transform his soul into such sounds.

We were living through a miracle
As, with all those long dead people beneath our feet,
staring hopelessly from a time ten centuries ago,
it would have been difficult, but for that music,
to believe in resurrection.


Translated by Lucy Maroulleti




I am a candle
For a moment, I was set alight
by the passion of love,
which was inserted in time,
I am fed and I am worn
by the wind of life.

I burn and I shed light,
I burn and I am worn
every day
moving into the darkness
that always moves and shifts
and never runs out.

But where does this aura end up?
Where is it invested?
what comes of the mundane?

And is it enough?


Translated by Irena Ioannides



Our homeland is a small one, surrounded by the sea
you cannot see the boundaries of the rest of the world.
The rains start coming and they are suddenly gone
and we are left dry and thirsty.
The winds blow from all around us
but we never pick a correct direction.

Our homeland is a small one and it becomes dangerously smaller
we steady ourselves for a short while and then, we again slip down.
Frightened we look more back to the past than to the future,
unearthing forgotten saints and heroes.

The homeland diminishes and the heroes multiply,
our souls are impoverished and the saints multiply.

What benefit have they been to us
that we invoke those who have already perished!

The heroes have become armies killing the man inside us,
the saints have become armies killing the God inside us!

Freedom! Freedom!
From where will you come to liberate us!


Translated by Lucy Maroulleti





Cover: Name Surname


Awaiting rain. Years we wait
staring at the empty sky.
The world covered by dust,
leaves stripped of color.
An infertile womb, the earth awaits orgasm.
Even the sun needs washing.

This drought has settled in our souls
like the dust that covers ancient stones
that burn, unwashed in the sun.
Even our souls have become
ancient mosaics covered by dust.

We await the rain, to cleanse us,
to regain our color,
the shine trapped inside us,
the light
born of our stones and earth.


Translated by Irena Ioannides




When the soul leaves the body
stealing away like a lover betrayed
wishing to never return
to the home that held her
bound to things
and to the four dimensions.

She wanders naked as a butterfly
blossom to blossom
roaming the streets,
rivers and seas
falling in love with the world once more,
singing, rebelling…

She leaves the body to the light’s embrace
to the water and the earth
moving silently into the rain
to connect with the eternal music of the universe,
from where there is no return.

She wishes to return
where she first came to know light and joy,
to all she had experienced
to become all this
united in one infinite moment,
in one existence.
And to continue to be here
with no right to vote or intercept
but always,
inside everything
a place,
a tear,
a smile.


Translated by Irena Ioannides




An explosive body, naked like lighting
bolts into the city.
Rushes from the sky like a trigger
of an explosive mechanism, armed,
setting fires, taking over
anyone who roams with his soul exposed.

And I with the poet´s words alone
stretch over the world like a rope,
become a chord that resonates
upon the touch of every sun ray,
upon the touch of every wind and leaf.

I dress in the colors of the spectrum,
shatter to pieces
arches, squares, triangles…
I appear suddenly from the sky,
born of water and earth
and follow, but how can I reach you
eternal body, the world´s secret soul,
soul of mine!

A trigger in tension you are
fired continually
by a naked body that calls you,
by an explosive body, a body like lighting
that bolts
brightest among lights
reaching the world´s arcane essence
where endlessly,
life is born.


Translated by Irena Ioannides




Unfulfilled our plans for Sunday excursions.
We leave always for the south
return to a Nicosia in inertia
that gazes at Pentadaktylos
in the violet of the twilight hour…

And as I look at you and you at me,
I wander amidst your peaks
in my own fairy tale.
I cross to the opposite bank and sink
in other times,
in days when the sea blossomed with smiles,
in other tragedies,
in other outbursts…

And to the children that always ask about this wall
I tell a story
about the good, about the bad
and as always in fairy tales,
good triumphs over all,
the hero enters the palace,
fetches at the last minute
the water of immortality and the water of memory.


Translated by Irena Ioannides




Shapes of bodies that once lived,
figures that existed upon the warmth of touch,
upon the tastefulness of style,
follow us
wanting to utter their own words.

Empty shells upon the sea bed, empty conches,
empty armor, helmets, vestments
in shapes that once held
living bodies
and walked the cycle of life with them.
Urns in shapes molded by naked hands,
in shapes that held wine and oil
often repeating the fruitful womb
and the cross of man.

Does it all remain, gestures of a memory that recurs,
vessels of souls that passed and are now where?
The same question repeating itself!
What is really ours of all we embody,
of all we carry inside
to place at the feet of time
who wants us simply his registrars
so that he may continue his journey through the ages!

We walk the road
porters and creators
of a singular value
in the world´s decay..


Translated by Irena Ioannides




A blind speaker rose to the podium
opened his manuscript
began to talk, touching words one by one
with his fingers. A Turk
speaking Greek. His words
Greek and Turkish together
flew over frontiers like birds
whose nationality cannot be determined.

And as he spoke, palpating words with his fingers
releasing them to the air
more and more he resembled a potter
who molded birds, animals, men
who molded a round earth, a unified country,
without sectors of death, a dove of peace…
he molded them in his fingers one by one,
breathed life in them and released them
to fly around the hall,
searching for windows, for open doors
through which to soar out into the world


Translated by Irena Ioannides






You dig areas like old neighborhoods
and you find one building beneath another´s foundations —
configurations which are repeated and progress
And you go back many centuries,
you find graves with mutilated bones
pierced skulls, burnt cities.
Your find marble carved in your form
and the word of wisdom from centuries old speaks to you
about things you carry inside you.
Like a meter you place it on the earth
and you travel around it around the surface,
Many centuries, pondering
that journey which develops, stops,
find its equilibrium, turns back
and progresses forward again…

Otherwise there is no reason for it to exist.
Otherwise we would have no reason to exist.


Translated by Lisa Socrates




From now on so many things have changed,
the optical signs are transposed,
the perspectives have been modified.
Does the house exist or not exist,
has it withstood the rains of last winter or has it yielded?

It stirs like a curtain in the memory and it refracts
all that series of events:
when and who went in and left,
when and in what order where the children born,
when Death passed…

What always remains and torments me the most
is the difficulty with which they all, everyone grew up.
in the winter the air blew from the holes in the doors
and the windows,
the rain crept in, the thunder and lightning from the holes.
We closed them, sometimes with rags and sometimes with paper.
The cold also crept in and froze our bones
continuing into our sleep.

Sometimes on such evenings the cries and screams
circulated in the house like phantoms.
Our hate exchanged places with pity:
mother-father, father-mother… Who is culpable?
With God’s persistent denial, his absence.

In the summers the land would dry up and would crack like our body.
Everything burnt: the stones under the naked feet,
the trees, the earth, the water.
Whatever insisted on growing dragged slowly,
like a snake in a ploughed field.

Time itself dragged slowly
and did not intend to hurry so
we could grow, strengthen,
for our soul to strengthen
and to embark on the road of our dreams.


Translated by Lisa Socrates



Life fragmented from the roots returns to the root
like the soul above the dead body, searching
the configuration of its perfections, the figure which it was give to exist.

This life carries a load for centuries and where should it repose
when the blood dries, when the color fades,
the heat which oscillated and recalled the first steps on the ground,
the first footsteps on the water, on the stones
with configurations which recall all those crossings and the postures
which took the body maturing. Without all these
the heritage cannot last, the image dries in the memory,
we step not knowing were we step, we go on blindly.
The dead body passes quickly to the state of decomposition,
it dissolves in water and dust, it flows with the rivers
and the soul circulates amongst configurations and forms which it cannot recognize.

Now we know very well that all those who fell into the ships
either left in haste with a bundle on the shoulder
the only wealth they took with them was the children
those who cried under the paternal roof,
who saw the light climb down from the window
and spread to their small beds,
who climbed up to to the high trees
searching for the mature bud. Those children
who first heard the fairy tale on the shores of their home
recognizing the first configuration of the stars.

The greatest wealth and most palpable hope
to live more, to resist more
to continue to exist
and to exist hoping,
it was those children.


Translated by Lisa Socrates




“Why are you crying Eleni?”
“They have hung my gifts high and I cannot reach them.
The rabbit brought the ladder. But the wicked man
came and I was frightened”.
“What did the wicked man look like?”
“I didn’t see him. I closed the door.”

(Elemi’s dialogue with her mother)

Go to sleep. The black butterfly came
and entered from the open window
she spread her velvet wings
and covered all the world.
whatever she wants now to exist
is now written in a golden light,
in her open wings…

Go to sleep. Al the gifts are yours.
However high they hang them, you will reach them,
only don’t be afraid. We are all with you.
Look, the rabbit comes out of its hole,
the wolf is coming from its wood,
the fox climbs down from its fence,
even that bird, the magpie
which bothered you in your mouth
when your teeth were growing
jumps from the bare branch and is coming…

All the gifts are yours.
Don’t cry. Climb, climb the stairs
and when you see the wicked man
close the door.


Translated by Lisa Socrates






She stood barefooted at the water’s edge,
a young girl, wrapped in the innocence
of her twelve years.
The adolescents teased her,
without even knowing why,
wounding her. And she smiled
at the sea, the sun and the day.

The day spread out long before her,
holding drops of the morning fog
and the dawn’s aromas.
Life, also spread out long before her
just starting to collect
the fluff from her body…

Yet all these things lasted so little,
when she just started to undress. When
she undressed, revealing a mature body,
a woman’s body, completely,
a perfect figure-without excesses
or limitations-
a naked spade in the fire
a column of water in the sun,
a soul floating amongst the flowers.

All the passions were set on fire.
They burn and do not touch her.

Why does this body have everything,
why is this body eternal
and imperishable; it stands in opposition to death
and challenges him with life.


Translated by Lisa Socrates






In northern countries where in the long winters
the snow covers the ground
no-one knows
when precisely the trees die.

They shed their leaves in the autumn
and they stand naked in line with the snow.
the spring arrives, the snow melts,
the trees, leaves and blossoms fly quickly
here and there.
It is then revealed that certain trees
have died at some stage in the winter.
As birds who have left for other lands
who do not return to the roots.

Their body now stands in line
Together with the others,
in this festival of life,
naked, underlining with lead
in the blue and the green
their death, simple and the humble.

Moscow, winter 1982

Translated by Lisa Socrates




On stones which from childhood have us known
with my brothers I sit and talk.
Striving to recollect
all that has happened during our long years of separation,
What each has lived and dreamed and known,
to fill the void and renew our friendship.

At some time on memory, like a stage
curtain, darkness falls
and ends the act,
a river flows by and separates us.
We cease to recognize one another, in other tongues we speak

But these stones intrude
chiseled to the measure of our hands and body,
carved to the measures of our soul, our tongue,
these stones appear and recognize us.


Translated by Mary Begley Ioannides






Without dreams, without heroes, how can one live?
The mind loaded with so many broken columns,
trunks of trees, broken bones…
It founders.

An abandoned house remains
each corner loaded with memories.
The first lines engraved on the wall´s plaster,
the cypress in the middle of the yard
with an alluring epigraph engraved on its trunk.
How great the moon used to be… and truly,
the Summer evenings, the August moon!…
The moon was once great
in five drops of virginal blood.
Besides I cannot remember where I hid her photograph,
a love of long ago, forgotten.

And the photographs of friends, where are they,
now that they are absent?
A large cypress in the middle of the yard
touched the moon its journey.

There is hope they told us, that they are alive,
undeclared captives at some concentration camp
or in some uranium galley and perhaps one day they will return.
There are hopes that they live, that they are working,
hurrying to stand in queue for the mess,
to give each other courage, to quarrel, to swear at each other.
There are hopes that we too
will greet the sea one day
with the old familiar gestures, gazing at it with yearning
in the way we look at a beautiful woman.
We will avoid death in was
the polluted air, radiation…

The trench in the middle of the yard
was dangerous even from plain bombs
and as the cypress´ shadow learnt over
it was exposed to the moon. Now I remember
I hid the photographs of friends in the moon
and the one of the adolescent young virgins,
in the trench. Now I walk naked in foreign lands.

I think back to the motherland,
the scenes are upright in the plain like ships´ sails,
and grandfather amongst them like the Mermaid
always asking is He alive?…
and who this, and that.
“He lives”, they would say to him,
whilst he travels on his last journey.


Translated by Lisa Sokrates





To Theodoros Stylianou, a friend

Now a black snake reigns in the village
the old mansion its palace.

Black snakes
are tamed with bread made of wheat
or with black bread made of barley
in times of poverty.

Now so alone yet
still a faithful guard,
it underlines the desolation even more
as it holds onto its bitter story:

It was many years ago, when in the village
the last master of the house lived
in this mansion. It recalls
their last child being born.
They often spoke about leaving then,
about fields that did not yield enough to feed them,
about the child and the school they would send him to.

The child and the snake then became best friends
and every night they slept
in the child´s crib together, embraced.
One awaited the other
and both awaited night.

And when the child could speak
and when the names of this parents he could utter
filling the house with joy,
he always spoke of the friend
that awaited him every night.
But who would believe a child that says:

“The shake will come and together we will sleep”.
Until the day that his mother saw,
that while her child lay in his crib,
a snake climbed
and the child, with a cry of joy,
stretched his little hands,
and the two united like brothers.

The mother was fearful
and the whole house was fearful.
What could they understand
about this one of life´s games?
and so together, they took the child and left.

And so a snake wanders alone
in the ruins.
It has slept in winters,
been awake in summers,
has shed many skins but always
remembers a child, a crib
and a life that once was
when snake and child embraced.

And so the child, now a grown man,
has heard the old story
as if it were a fairytale.
And now, when he returns to see
the house that once was his house,
he sees the snake and becomes fearful.


Translated by Irena Ioannides