Days of '41 - George Seferis

November 19 2021 · poems george-seferis hellenic

George Seferis. 1941.
After the Germans had taken Crete

The new moon came out over Alexandria
with the old moon in her arms
while we were walking towards the Gate of the Sun
in the heart’s darkness - three friends.

Who wants to bathe in the waters of Proteus now?
We looked for metamorphosis in our youth
with desires that played like big fish
in seas suddenly shrinking;
we believed in the body’s omnipotence.
And now the new moon has come out embracing
the old; and the beautiful island is bleeding,
wounded; the calm island - the strong, innocent island.
And the bodies like broken branches,
like roots uprooted.

Our thirst
a guard on horseback turned to marble
at the dark Gate of the Sun -
he doesn’t know how to ask or anything: he stands guard
exiled somewhere around here
near the tomb of Alexander the Great.

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