Laughter of the gods, O Saronic Gulf, forever great, whose currents
favour our ship,
just as your deep calm does, so we too will listen deeply
to the howling storm.

Beneath the frost, Athens, a dove, shivers with her body’s
damp indolence,
she feels both pleasure and, like a bride, looks forward
to the sunrise.

The sky, now clear, is the mane of Pegasus, fair
fortune for the Parthenon,
it’s like a glass Zeus is holding upside down to pour out
a flood of dream-light.

I, prodigal son, have come to you again, to sway
in the breeze like a flower;
O soil, sky and sea of Attica, to you I owe
everything, especially the Song!

Kostas Karyotakis, Battered Guitars, trans. William W. Reader & Keith Taylor
University of Birmingham, 2006

2 Responses to “Homecoming”

  1. Dylan Thomas Hayden Says:

    A newer and better translation than the Keeley and Sherrard version I have previously posted here. A very special poem. I dedicate this post to Jannis Agraniotis and the Saronic Chamber Music Festival.

  2. Dylan Thomas Hayden Says:

    The Greek original:


    Γέλιο των θεών, Σαρωνικέ, πάντα μεγάλε, που δρομείς,
    του πλοίου μας ευλογία,
    όμοια γαλήνη σου βαθιά κι όμοια βαθιά θ’ ακούαμε μεις
    εδώ την τρικυμία.
    Κάτου απ’ την πάχνη αναρριγά, με του κορμιού της την ογρή
    νωχέλεια, περιστέρα
    η Αθήνα, κ’ ηδονεύεται και σαν νυμφίον ακαρτερεί
    τον ήλιον από πέρα.
    Είναι, που αιθρίασεν, ο ουρανός χήτη του Πήγασου, ξανθή
    του Παρθενώνα μοίρα,
    ποτήρι και ξανάστροφα το κρεμεί ο Δίας για να χυθεί
    τ’ ονειροφώς πλημμύρα.
    Aσωτο φτάνω εγώ παιδί πάλι σε σας, να λυγιστώ
    στην αύρα σα λουλούδι,
    χώμα, ουρανέ και θάλασσα της Αττικής, που σας χρωστώ
    τα πάντα, το Τραγούδι!

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