Odysseas Elytis: "The Age of Blue Memory"

Olive trees and vineyards as far as the sea
Red fishing smacks beyond, as far as memory
August's golden sheaves in midday slumber
With seaweed and shells. And that green boat,
Just launched, still blessing the water's peaceful breast with
"God will provide."

The years went by, leaves or pebbles,
I recall the young men, the sailors who left,
Their sails dyed the color of their hearts
Their songs telling of the four horizons
The north winds tattooted on their chests.

What was I looking for when you arrived, painted by the rising sun
The sea's age in your eyes
The sun's health in your body - what was I looking for
Deep in the sea-caves, in the spacious dreams
Where the wind scattered its feelings like foam
Unknown and blue, carving its sea-emblem on my chest.

Sand on my fingers, I closed my fingers
Sand on my eyes, I clasped my fingers
It was the sorrow -
I remember it was April when I first felt your human weight
Your human body, clay and sin,
Like our first day of earth
Feast-day of the amaryllis - I remember your pain:
A deep bite on the lips
A deep nail-mark on the skin where time's track is traced eternally.

Then I left you
And a deafening wind shook the white houses
Shook white feelings freshly washed into the sky
Radiant and smiling.

Now I will have beside me a pitcher of deathless water,
I will have a diagram of the wind's shattering freedom
And these your hands where Love will be tormented
And this your shell where the Aegean will echo.

Translated by E.Keely & P.Sherrard

UofT Department of Computer Science | University of Toronto