In the beginning the light And the first hour
when lips still in clay
try out the things of the world
Green blood and bulbs golden in the earth
And the sea, so exquisite in her sleep, spread
unbleached gauze of sky
under the carob trees and the great upright palms
from “The Axion Esti”

 Odysseas Elytis was one of the greatest poets of modern Greece. He was born in 1911 in Heraklion, Crete and by the age of three he and his family came to Athens. He came in touch with significant Greek painters, poets and authors who influenced his artistic expression. His significance was highlighted when he awarded with a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1979.  Here we will approach some poems of this unique romantic modernist.
“The Axion Esti” (1959)

The Axion Estin” is inspired by the memories of the 1940-1941 war, the German occupation, the Greek resistance and the Greek Civil War that followed. Elytis has a living experience of all these crucial phases of the modern Greek history and understands them as aspects of the timeless siege of Greece by the forces of Evil. Axion Esti was made into a song and was generally enthusiastically received by the Greek readers and the literature critics. This did not happen only due to its artistic value, but also due to its operation as a fundamental work that redefined the Greek collective unconscious by elaborating repressed experiences and myths from the modern Greek history.


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