In this wrecked hideout in the forgotten mountains

Under an enraged moonlight, the People attend mass;

Nameless they flare up like churches

There is the thunder’s chapel, home of the resurrected.

Human windows, and the door open to the future,

A thousand dead a thousand alive you can no longer tell.                          390

A skylark stood on the rooftree, chanting

Death to tyrants

In the dim flash of lightning. Then a sound of annunciation

Bringing the message


The great river flows, and the orange trees from Epirus

Blossom in light, and those who fought against the celebrations for freedom

Are hidden deep, behind the world.

Night spread again, subdued, timid,

And the thunder stroke the great letter

E                                                                                                                          400

Epanastasē [1]: what have we offered?

Comrade, blood quickens in my heart

The sweet daring of a life’s revolt

Which an ancient prudence can never retract

By this, and this only, we have existed

Which no one will tell our children

And only we will know and the pallbearer cricket

And tomorrow a subdued humanity will create

With the trace of our bodies.

E                                                                                                                          410

Erōtas: I heard your steps

I felt your hand on my hand

Denying the other, you confirm your prison

Feeling the other’s loneliness, you destroy your prison

Only now at dawn, a tear

Revives for an instant Penelope’s terror.


Elephtheria[2]: The boat responded

Gaily, to the hand that turns it

The invitation was serene, your heart responded                                       420

Gaily, when invited, dominating, whilst dominated,

The ultimate dominion.


I came out of the amphitheatre

Awakening, the masses all over me

Let’s unsettle the world’s order.

Wolf, are you here?

I will sing of well-founded Earth, mother of all.

How glorious fall the valiant, sword in hand

In front of battle for their native land!

A curse, a curse on Fatherlands again!

Dry human bones, in them I breathed flesh and soul.

Today the sky is shining, today the day too                                               430

Today the eagle gets engaged to the dove.

Epanastasē Erōs Elephtheria

Thanatos Thanatos Athanatos




Elias Lagios, extract from Erēmē Gē (1984), trans. Konstantina Georganta in Three Long Poems in Athens: Erēmē Gē-Perama-Kleftiko (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018).

Featured Image: © Vassilis D. Gonis []

[1]. Revolution

[2]. Freedom