Winter 2005



The following three poems were translated by Philip Ramp, who has translated the works of many modern Greek poets into English, and are part of the book "Selected Poems: Tassos Denegris," published by Shoestring Press, Nottinghamshire, UK, in 2000. Denegris was born in Athens in 1934, and has studied at the International Writing Program at University of Iowa. A major figure in contemporary Greek literature, his influences range from Surrealism to the Beats. Denegris has published six collections of his own poetry as well as translations into Greek of Borges, Paz and others.
Tassos Denegris

I knew that by sounds
And by sounds alone would I reach the moon
The dark side of the moon
Pale green
With the hollow bellies of the quarries
And thus as the sounds grew stronger
Women and children and warriors
Began arriving from all directions
Clutching uprooted shrubs in their left hand
And wooden lances or goldfish in their right
To hear and see the priest.

And as the sounds grew steadily more remote
Sometimes the heavy tread of the tiger
On the blackened crops
Sometimes a mathematical thought perfect
As a spider's web
And everything frozen
Bells and icicles
Then the spirit came down
To purify the hate
And we touched the green rind of the moon

Sunday 8 February 1964
*(Title originally in English)


Equilibrium is maintained thanks to the small child
Walking straight as a ramrod in his green cloak
Through the dark January afternoon.


I must learn to like six
Up to now I've disliked it
Just like I've disliked
Zurich and Hydra
However this March I felt insecure
That's why I have to declare
An armistice with 6
I have to be on good terms with numbers
At least with numbers
So I can have it out
With all the Ides of March
Well, I will really try to like 6
With God's help.
I feel very insecure
And everything I've collected has been scattered to the winds.

18 March 1969


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