Home > Poetry > from With Light and Death: 18
Translated from the Greek by Olga Broumas
Published: Sat Oct 15 1988
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
from With Light and Death: 18

Translated from the Greek by Olga Broumas


Even when they destroy you it will still be beautiful
The world because of you
_                                                  _your heart—true heart
In place of what they took from us—
Will still beat and a gratitude
From the trees you touched will cover us

Unshackled lightning how do they retie you

Now that I have no air no animal companion
Nor even a woodsman’s lost thunderbolt
I hear water running
_                                _maybe from God
(And I blaspheming) or from the mouth
Of a solitary who approached the peak’s most Secret
_                     _Keys
And opened them
_                                _for this I address You
Night of a Holy Tuesday with the irreplaceable pelago
Facing me—so you can tell it goodbye and thanks.

See what's inside AGNI 27

Odysseas Elytis (1911–1996) was born in Crete. He studied law at the University of Athens and in 1960 won the National Prize in poetry. The receiver of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Literature, his Collected Poems was published in 2004 by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Olga Broumas is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Beginning With O (Yale University, 1977) and Sappho’s Gymnasium (Copper Canyon, 2000). She is currently the Poet-in-Residence as well as the Director of Creative Writing at Brandeis University. (updated 6/2010)
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