A SELECTION OF POEMS FROM COSTAS MONTIS’
IN THE FEAR OF MAN...

 

 

TO CALVOS (ON CYPRUS)

Repeat that “beautiful and alone”,

repeat that “beautiful and alone”.

 

    * * * *

 

You’ll see that one day we will unfurl these rags again,

you’ll see that one day we will unfurl

these rags again to the five winds.

 

    * * * *

 

We worry that we have begun to not worry

we worry that we have begun

to lie awake at night no longer.

 

    * * * *

 

If only our heart was

like those old hydrogen-filled balloons of our childhood

that we could never restrain,

that were always looking for a chance to fly up to the ceiling,

that would push at the ceiling trying to escape.

And if only—when one day we accidentally let go the string—

we could then see the balloon disappearing above the roofs,

see it scaling the sky

without caring that mother might not be coming to comfort us anymore

with the promise that she’ll buy us another!

 

    * * * *

 

MY GRANDCHILD ON THE DAY OF MY DEATH

Tell him I’ll be back any moment now,

tell him I went to get some bread,

tell him I went to the post office to check the mail.

 

    * * * *

 

FOR MY GRANDCHILD I

And your smile

my bondage and my release.

 

    * * * *

 

TO MY GRANDCHILD III

Don’t pull me by the hand at the last moment to keep me from going,

don’t make me leave like that!

 

    * * * *

 

TO MY GRANDCHILD IV

If only I could love like you love,

If only I could forget like you forget.

 

    * * * *

 

THE EARTH, WHICH EMPTY NOW HAS RETURNED TO THE OTHER PLANETS,
REFERS IN HER TALES TO
CYPRUS

So! They all gathered on this island...

Never mind, I’ll tell you some other time.

 

    * * * *

 

AND THE EARTH TELLS THE OTHER PLANETS ALL ABOUT IT WHEN,
EMPTY AT LAST, SHE RETURNS TO THEM III

And there was an island...

I’ll tell you about that too one day.

Make me a coffee now.

 

    * * * *

 

THE EARTH TO HUMANITY

Couldn’t you have found someone else to bother?

 

    * * * *

 

ABOUT LOVE

I asked her housemaid

and she told me she doesn’t know where she’s gone.

That girl is never in, she says.

 

                                                            Translated from the Greek by Pavlos Andronikos

 

 

 

Published in Antipodes nos. 37/38 (1995). For more on Costas Montis see the official web site.

Home Page

© Costas Montis &
Pavlos Andronikos.
All Rights Reserved.

Greek Bookshop