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Winter 2018/19

Dionysios Solomos


     Tr Chryssa Velissariou, with George Wallace

Evil is always on the prowl, vigilant, it spreads everywhere;
but evil's power stays away from paradise -- and there's paradise
in your soul, my good fellow, do you hear it trembling there?

And a rose is bright, as bright as the first joy of the rising sun,
Yet in brightness it comes in only second to your face.

‘Let night throw a thousand stars onto the sea where I bathe –
I shall swim among them!’

You laugh at the flowers, black gap in the rock.
But here's a goldenwinged bird, come to the sea
from its tiny branch to feel the pebbles and the sand,
to feel the sea's beauty, and the sky's,
to sing a miraculous song.

And by this song, echoing sweetly among the rocks,
connect sea  to rock;

And with this song, the goldenwing calls out to Venus,
the first of the rising stars, to rise earlier still.

O bird, little bird, who spreads this miracle of song around,
if happiness is not your song, then nothing beautiful
has ever flourished on this earth, or in this sky.

But o! I wish that with one great stroke I could swim to my homeland,
and return with two of my mother's kisses and a handful of my soil,
while, you, sea foam, were still on the rise!

I kiss the palms of my hands, I embrace the expanse of my breast
The eyes of my soul are open wide and I ask, from where did you spring,
O beautiful eternal fountain?

Nature, you smiled and gave yourself to him, smiling.
Hope, you cast your spell and chained his mind  –
see how he looks around everywhere for that young and beautiful world,
the joy and kindness you have proclaimed.

And now, The Tiger of the Sea is before him.
And now, his sword is far off, and his rifle is on the shore.
And now, see how the shark tears up from the great depths to attack him!

His total white neck, shining like a swan.
His broad chest and the golden hair on his head.
The noble and sweet breath of his youth.

And now, the young one does the same –
tears away from nature’s sweet and strong embrace,
nature’s whispering little words,
And the swimmer’s art, and his warrior heart,
wake in his shining white body.

And now, as he takes his last noble breath,
He is filled with a great joy, a sudden glow of light,
And he sees his true self.

Nothing around him matters at all,
even if all the worlds were to open
and give him their crowns.

O miraculous shred of grandeur
O beautiful and good stranger
In the flowering of your youth

Go away now, and accept
the tears and cries of whoever it is
that wishes to mourn for you.

DIONYSOS SOLOMOS (1798-1857) is known as the Greek National poet on the basis of his stanzas from his poem Hymn to Liberty, proclaimed by King Otto in 1865 as that nation’s National Anthem.  His use of demotic speech, ie the spoken language of everyday life, is considered foundational to 20th century poetry in Greece.

DR. CHRYSSA VELISSARIOU, a published poet in Greek and English, has been honored as the first International Poet Laureate of the National Beat Poetry Festival 2017 in USA. She has more than 3000 poems on her blogs. She was a host of the International Beat Poetry Festival 2015 and the POetathon in 2013 and 2015 in Greece.




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