ΤΑ ΠΑΛΙΑ ΚΑΡΑΒΙΑ
Ειδα τα παλια καραβια να περνουν
αρμενιζοντας κοιμισμενα σαν κυκνοι,
να περνουν στ’ ανοιχτα του χωριου
που και σημερα ακομα ονομαζεται Τυρος.
Φορτωμενα αιωνες βαρεις σαν μολυβι,
τις πλωρες τους βουτωντας βαθια,
τραβουν για Αμμοχωστο, για τον ηλιο
Κανει τωρα την καταμαυρη Κυπρο
να παλεται μεσα σε λιμνη φωτιας.
Σιγουρα ηταν παλια αυτα τα καραβια –
ποιος ξερει με ποσα ρεσαλτα και βροντερες
κανονιες, ποσες φορες ορμηξαν κι αρπαξαν
μελαψους σκλαβους η πορτοκαλια της Συριας
οι Γενοβεζοι πειρατες.
Με βουρδουλιες τους πετουσαν ανασκελα,
μεσα στα αμπαρια, ανακατα αιμα, νερο,
φρουτα και πτωματα.
Τωρα ομως διασχιζουν απαλα φιλοξενες θαλασσες με χρωμα
βαθυγαλαζο του πελαγου η γαλαζοπρασινο του γιαλου,
κεντημενες οπως τοτε και τωρα χρυσαφενια σταφυλια
και φυλλα αμπελιου.
I must confess that I was motivated to compose this article after a half hour of daydreaming on a deserted Ikarian shore where I was all by myself (or almost) 😀 But I didn’t know exactly what to write. And later, when at home, I received Flecker’s poem in a comment under one of my photos on Flickr! wow!
It doesn’t look to bad, so
1st I want to thank each one of the 10 voters who chose a colour in my previous entry -especially the 8 who chose my colour (which has no name). This of course was stageset by me (the clown, some say) and thank you very much for taking part. Who voted for «slave brown»?
2ndly, here I’m trying my hand in tranlating in Greek «Parnasian» (?…) poetry. Parnassus is a Greek mountain. How did I go? Angelos? Nana?
3rdly, the photo… ha ha… «The illusion of grandeur» ! I or one of my friends may write about it. I have no more space in this comment box.
Thursday October 19, 2006 - 12:38pm (PDT)
Your verses don’t rime like in the original but your Old Ships have a better rythm and measure. I don’t know what poet you are; you sure are a singer, baby…
I-da tAa paliA ka-arAvia nA-a pernOUn
a-armeNIzontas sAn ki-misMEnoi KYknoi
Socratis Malamas style
p.s. Funny painting; looks like from a ceiling; please someone explain; Genoese pirates/conquistadores boasting of the massacres? 😮
Friday October 20, 2006 - 11:33am (EEST)
I don’t know what to say. I’ve lost my ability to judge anything. Your photo has knocked me down! 😮
Saturday October 21, 2006 - 09:12am (EEST)
«Right, as the world goes, is only a question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.»
Oh no. I’ve changed my mind. I don’t feel like and I am not going to write the story of sweet boy Glaucos, Cretan King Minos’ son, who drowned in honey.
Instead, I will tell you about the terrible fate of the Melians, the inhabitants of the island of Melos, who dared claim neutrality in a civil war. It was not because they were cowards; on the contrary they were the only islanders who didn’t surrender and opposed the Persians. The reason they didn’t want to fight with their allies, the Athenians, against the Spartans, was that unlike the Athenians and most other islanders who were Ionians, the Melians were Dorians like the Spartans. Greek can kill Greek and brother can kill brother; but in this case the Melians were asked to fight against themselves, against their own identity. So they pleaded to remain neutral.
«We are going to destroy you and we will spare noone; but before we kill you, you will have to understand perfectly well the reason why we will kill you.» And the Melians seem to say : «We know that we are as good as dead; but why not for a change instead of proving you are strong by killing everybody of us, why not for a change prove you are strong by letting us live in the way we want.»
(If you have time to read the whole original Dialogue, search for the quote in the title of this entry. Look how and where exactly it drops in the text. What effect it’d create to your ears if you were a Melian?)
I hope one day Thucydides’ Melian Dialogue will be adapted and set on the scene succesfully. But my ambitions are greater. They say that the constitution of the European Union will contain Pericles’ «Funeral Oration» on the benefits of democracy; I strongly believe that it should also contain the arguments of the Melians. My arguments? My arguments are he arguments of so many weak people I know.
«Might makes right!» «Wait a second.. no it doesn’t!»
If there were any justice in the world, all imperial leaders would be forced to sleep with a copy of this dialogue under their pillows.
This was one of the first pieces of classical literature I ever read. It brought home the one reason I’m still studying the ancients, and in fact plan to teach this stuff for my career: Nothing Ever Changes. That’s not to say I’m a pessimist, but rather that there are universal elements of the human experience, and sometimes they were expressed best 2500 years ago. These elements, from Achilles’ rage to Dido’s tragic love, are what have kept me stuck in school for all these years.
Saturday September 30, 2006 – 09:24am (EDT)
My old teacher Vidal-Naquet died recently. I was lucky to meet him again after many years in Ikaria. He had been invited to a conference on history and myths. I was told that he expressed the wish to visit again and spend a lot of time in Ikaria. Anyway what he always said was that the study of the classics helps a person committed to a cause become more relative and more profound in his/her ideas. I want to add that Thucydides was FOR the Melians. Unfortunaltely we weren’t taught that at school. I was told that Thucydides is taught as a course in the Mlitary Academies of the U.S. I assume it’s about strategics and that they leave this passage out.
(psst… El, what’s on your mind? a script?)
Saturday September 30, 2006 – 10:43pm (EEST)
- Simon G
The cat got his paws on a cockerel. «At last I’ve got you. You… you… wake up everyone far too early in the morning. Now I’m going to stop all your crowing once and for all.» Although the claws of cat were round his neck, the cock managed to answer, «But actually a recent poll has shown the majority of people are grateful for a wake up call.» «Well… don’t think you can reason your way out of this. I’m hungry, and the main thing is… I want a meal.» And with that the debate was over.
I’ve just had a look at the Melian dialogue – it is sort of surreal – it must be the greeks and debate – why, before the age of mass media and spin – why when there will be no audience apart from the vanquished – why bother to reason?? The performance should have a comic edge I think.
Saturday September 30, 2006 – 11:24pm (CEST)
Typical situation «Shoot me but spare me the lecture». Fortunately (for us) none of them was short of words and Thucydides was a top «journalist». So a typical everyday situation became an *all-times-classic*. When someone to who a company is grateful*, refuses to do some dirty job which is against his/her principles, and so he/she gets fired, the attitudes that you see and the arguments that you hear are from the Melian Dialogue.
*** I all agree with Simon G. This is Black Comedy. Though no expert, I think this genre is the most difficult to put on stage.
Sunday October 1, 2006 – 07:10pm (EEST)
OH YES IT IS ! As ‘Simon G’ insinuates, the somebody has to be vanquished and that will be the audience for such a play. If I’m not mistaken, during the war Thucydides was busy being a general; he wrote his history later in his self-exile in Thrace after his home town, Athens was defeated. Aristophanes on the contrary wrote and directed his comedies between battles and campaigns of that war. Lycistrata, The Birds, Acharneis – my favourites!…
Sunday October 1, 2006 – 12:27pm (PDT)
Tragic that we as humans have not learned a Goddamned thing in 2,500 years.
Write it Elle!
Monday October 2, 2006 – 07:35am (PDT)
Oh no greg! We have learned one thing : that we have not learned a Goddamned thing in 2,500 years. ha ha ha Somebody else said this -not me. Maybe a comedian, maybe a historian, I can’t remember.
I think I’ll try and do it. I’ll need to put on 3 hats : a lawyer’s, a comedian’s, a historian’s, plus some Aristophanic spirit «shoot us but spare us the lectures» (thank you Nana!) Let’s change the subject because I don’t want to think about it now. It will be for after… you know.
Monday October 2, 2006 – 01:04pm (PDT)
ΕΙΠΑΜΕ, ΔΕΝ ΘΑ ΚΟΛΑΜΕ
Ειπαμε, δεν θα κολαμε.
Θα αγωνιζομαστε σαν να ναι η τελευταια μαχη,
θα γλενταμε σαν να ναι το τελευταιο γλεντι,
η τελευταια περιπετεια κι η τελευταια μερα μας στη γη
αλλα δεν θα κολαμε.
Σαν γεροι 100 χρονων
Θα τα βαριομαστε ολα αυτα
σαν να ‘χουν ξαναγινει.
Γιατι εχουν ξαναγινει.
Τοτε μπορει και να νικησουμε.
Τι σημασια θα ‘χει τοτε, θα μου πεις,
μια τετοια νικη;
Δεν ειπαμε πως δεν θα κολαμε;
WE AGREED, NO INHIBITIONS
We agreed no inhibitions.
We’ll fight like it’s the final battle,
We’ll party like it’s the final party,
the final adventure… our final day on earth,
but no inhibitions.
When we reach 100
we’ll be bored of it all
like it’s all been done.
Because it will have all been done!
At that point we might have won.
What will it matter then, you might ask,
to win such a victory?
Not at all of course!
Didn’t we agree no inhibitions?
Friday June 30, 2006 - 12:42pm (PDT)
Next Post: «power for money, money for power» Previous Post: «Ζeppelin "IKARIA" with many propellers & forested with Oaks»
Δεν θα κολήσω… A, οχι, δεν θα κολήσω…
Γι’ αυτό δεν θα γράψω σχόλιο άλλο απ’ αυτό.
Α, όχι, δεν θα κολήσω…
(poetry is painkiller; even chicken know.)
Saturday July 1, 2006 – 02:45pm (EEST)
this has the makes of a good song
(«we won’t stick to things too much anymore»)
Saturday July 1, 2006 – 11:23pm (EEST)
Λοιπον, τα καταφερνω στην απομιμηση του Αναγνωστακη;
Τον διαβαζει ο πατερας μου και μαλλον γιαυτο καταφερνει και ζει ακομα.
Sunday July 2, 2006 – 11:34am (PDT)
Ξεκόλλησα και αισθάνομαι καλλίτερα. Άρα τα καταφέρνεις!
Wednesday April 29, 2009 – 07:48am (EEST)
Χαιρομαι που ξεκολησες και αισθανεσαι καλυτερα. Χαιρομαι που μου λες οτι τα καταφερνω. Αλλα και σκασιλα μου και σκορδοκαϊλα μου. Γιατι, ειπαμε, δεν θα κολαμε. Μονο θα αγαπαμε. Συμφωνοι;
😘 😘 😘
Friday June 12, 2009 – 10:26am (PDT)
...From *the Labyrinth* where I’m imprisonedby my own free will and I workfor the King, I’m posting:…ΩΔΗ ΤΕΤΑΡΤΗ
‘Οσοι το χάλκεον χέρι
βαρύ του φόβου αισθάνονται,
ζυγόν δουλείας ας έχωσι~
θέλει αρετήν και τόλμην
Αυτή (και ο μύθος κρύπτει
νουν αληθείας) επτέρωσε
τον ‘Ικαρον~ και αν έπεσε
ο πτερωθείς κ’ επνίγη
αφ’ υψηλά όμως έπεσε,
και απέθανεν ελεύθερος.
Αν γένης σφάγιον άτιμον
ενός τυράννου, νόμιζε
φρικτόν τον τάφον.
(Ανδρέας Κάλβος, Ωδαί, Παρίσι 1826)
Que ceux sur qui s’appesantit
De la peur la main d’airain,
Demeurent sous leur joug servile
Car la liberté requiert
vertu et temerité.
La liberté — ici le mythe cache
Le genie de la Verité — a pourvu d’ailes
Icare et si ce dernier a chute
Si l’Ange s’est englouti
C’est du zenith qu’il est tombé
Et libre qu’il a succombé!
Mais si tu es la victime avilie
D’un tyran, n’espère dans la tombe
(Andreas Calvos, Odes, Paris 1826)
Solang die schwere Eisenhand
Furcht in euch weckt und nahrt,
bleibt ihr im Sklavenjoch –
nur Mut und Tugend fuhrt
Einst hat sie Ikaros beflugelt
(im Mythos steckt die grosse
Wahrheit) – er fiel
beflugelt und ertrank
im Meer –
aus grosser Hohe fiel er doch
und starb als freier Mann –
Wirst ungerecht geopfert
von Tyrannen du, so ist’s
ein schrecklich Grab.
Whosoever feels the heavy
bronze hand of fear
let them support the yoke of slavery.
Freedom demands virtue
She herself (and the myth conceals
a sense of the truth) gave wings
to Icaros; even though the winged
boy fell and drowned
submerged in the sea.
But he fell from the heights
and he died free.
If you become a dishonoured victim
of a tyrant, expect
a horrible death.
(Andreas Calvos, Odes, Paris 1826)
The poem was written in honour of the heroic resistance of the island Samos against the Ottomans and the dramatic naval battles held between Samos, Ikaria and the Turkish coasts in 1826 during the War of Greek Independence. The painting is «Icarus» by contemporary artist & film-maker Peter Greenaway.
What a coincidence you posted Greenaway’s Icarus to fit with the famous poem. I was talking to a mutual friend about the protests I read in some local newspapers that Greenaway’s Icarus is not «the Ikarian one» and that the artist does not mention Ikaria in his work…
As if Freedom had a homeland -ha
Λες και η Ελευθερία έχει πατρίδα -χα
Did you know? The bravest bataillon of the defendants of Barcelona in the Spanish Civil War were called «Ikarians». They had no idea where Ikaria or Crete was, but they sure knew what they were fighting for. They understood the myth correctly the same way as great Calvos. It is about Freedom.
Thursday June 8, 2006 – 09:12pm (EEST)
Is there such thing as «Freedom to be a slave»?
I also love the old song by Theodorakis 🙂
Friday June 9, 2006 – 01:20pm (PDT)