Age of Blue Memory - Odysseus Elytis

July 13 2022 · poems odysseus-elytis hellenic

Olive groves and vineyards as far as to the sea
Red fishing boats farther still to memory
Golden cricket husks of August in a midday sleep
With shells or seaweed. And that boat’s hull
Newly built, green, that in the water’s peaceful embrace still reads:
The Lord Will Provide

Like leaves like pebbles the years went by
I remember the young men, the sailors, leaving
And painting the sails in their hearts’ image
They sang of the four corners of the horizon
They wore the north winds tattooed on their chests

What was I looking for when you came painted with the sunrise
The age of the sea within your eyes
And on your body the sun’s vigor – what was I looking for
Deep within sea-caverns amid spacious dreams
Where the emotions foamed of a wind
Anonymous and blue, engraving on my chest its sea emblem

With sand on my fingers, I would close my fingers
With sand in my eyes, I would clench my fingers
This was torment –
It was April, I remember, when I felt for the first time your human weight
Your human body of clay and corruption
As on our first day on earth
It was the festival of the amaryllis – But you suffered, I remember,
The wound on the bitten lip was deep
And deep the nailmark on the skin where Time is forever engraved

I left you then

And a thundering wind swept up the white houses
The white emotions freshly washed
On a sky that illumined all with a smile

Now I shall keep beside me a jug of immortal water
A form of freedom’s ravaging wind
And those hands of yours where Love shall be tormented
And that shell of yours where shall echo the Aegean.

From The Sovereign Sun: Selected Poems (1974)

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