Nothing is more permanent than the temporary

Ritsos Yannis
 The Meaning of Simplicity

I hide behind simple things so you’ll find me;
if you don’t find me, you’ll find the things,
you’ll touch what my hand has touched
our hand-prints will merge.

The August moon glitters in the kitchen
like a tin-plated pot (it gets that way because of what I’m saying to you),
it lights up the empty house and the house’s kneeling silence–
always the silence remains kneeling.

Every word is a doorway
to a meeting, one often cancelled,
and that’s when a word is true: when it insists on the meeting.

(Translated by Edmund Keeley, published in The Greek Poets: From Homer to the Present, Norton, 2010)

Ritsos Yannis

The statues left first. The trees soon after,
the people and the animals. The place
was utterly deserted. A wind came. Newspapers
hurried along the streets, and thorn-twigs.
At night the lights came on of their own accord.
On his own, a man came back; he looked round,
took out a key, and pressed it to the earth
as if passing it to an underground hand
or planting a tree. Afterwards he climbed
the marble steps and looked out over the city.
One by one, cautiously, the statues returned.

(Translated by Robert Hull, in MPT, Third Series, Number Twelve, Freed Speech)

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