Elias Lagios, Erēmē Gē, 1984
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
Epanastasē : 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.
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: 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).