VIEW TO THE AEGEAN SEA
A SEA, FROM WHICH OUR POETS HAVE DERIVED THEIR
INSPIRATION AND POWER OF THOUGHT
(Anthology : Matthaios Mountes-Synolo Publications 1993)
 

| report to Homer | psalm 103 | from the "free Besieged | of  Mr. North -Wind | to a tranquil sea |
| from "yearnings of the lagoon" | the big shore | from the "earth's song" | morning sea|
| white greek chapel | from "march of the ocean" | from "marina of the rocks" | from "alcyone " |
| sleep | oh! dove of the soul.. | trembling sweetly | the lady of south wind | from "romance" |
| from "Amorgos" |
 

REPORT TO HOMER
(George Seferis)
...and their souls became one with the oars and the oarlocks with the serious face of the prow with the wake of the rudder with the water that broke on their faces. The companions ended one by one, with lowered eyes. Their oars show the places where they sleep on the seashore.....
PSALM 103
This big and boundless sea; there are countless monsters there, animals. small along with big ones. There ships pass through.....

FROM THE "FREE BESIEGED"
(Dionysios Solomos)
my bowels and the sea never find peace.

OF MR. NORTH WIND
(Demotic song from Karpathos)
Mr North- Wind blows in order to wander;
he sends a sad message to all harbors:
Schooners that sail, galleys that set out,
enter your harbors because I 'll blow,
I' ll blow over the earth and over the sea,
over the earth and over the East, inside Salonica;
I' ll turn cities into grief and castles into ruins
and those ships I' ll find in mid-seas, I' ll cast on land.
Those ships that listened, they all sought a harbor,
but a Cretan ship answered him:
I' m not afraid of you, Mr North-Wind no matter how you blow,
for I have bronze masts and steel antennas,
for I have sails made of silk from Proussa,
for I have cables made of a blond maiden' s hair,
for I have choise sailors who are all brave lads,
for I have a young sailor who knows the whether..
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TO A TRANQUIL SEA
(Demetrios Moschos)
Deep blue tranquility smiled over the sea
amd a soft breath of winds calmed the waves;
gently reposing, the sea allowed the ships
with their daring masts to glide on her back;
Surely, Eros with his persuading words
must have appeased the virgin nymph' s mood
to honour your graces, oh! Poseidon.
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FROM " YEARNINGS OF THE LAGOON"
(Kostis Palamas)
My early, unforgetable years I lived near the seashore,
the sea there, the shallow and calm,
the sea there, the wide, the boundless.....
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THE BIG SHORE
(Alexandros Papadiamantis)
Upon the ridge,very close to the edge of the precipice, there was built the old, half - eaten by the north wind, blackened by the storms, little monastery. A half  hour' s walk, after a great effort and shortness of  breath, was enough for me to climb, from down below the sand of the beach, to the small peak upward.Underneath spread the Great Beach with its long, endless, wide strip of sand and pebbles, with its deep, blue and greenlike sea. On either side two small coves with precipitous and sheer juttings of rocks defined the Great Beach, without forming a small curve, without consttituting a cove or a small embrace..................................................................................................................
The Great Beach was entirely open to Mr. North-Wind, its master. No matter how one entreats Mr. North-Wind with songs to soften his wild blowing, the harsh fellow does not love music and is not moved by songs. And no matter how one would like to call the Great Beach was a spread-out sea, the brother of the open sea and was merely a stop of the harsh North-Wind, its master................
It faced a little bit toward the North Eastern Wind, as if  teasing with affectation the caresses of the main North Wind, its master. there was asilent and dreadful alliance between the sea and the wind....

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FROM THE " EARTH' S SONG"
(Stratis Myrivilis)
The sea!
We bnt down our faces to her face to stare directly into tranquility.
Calm. Not even a ripple or worry or a sade of a cloud passing and vanishing.
All crystal clear and diaphanous.
Bream wander closely to the blue rock of shallow waters.
Then put on their motley silk colours and roam about the flowers of seaweed.
Crimson, green and orange straps.
Then fills their gills indigo light and their eyes are rose-colored.
Their tails is a little blue ribbon wagging this or that way.
The sun weaves and spreads golden nets over the sandy seabed.
Water is like the wind, stirring.
YOU watch, bending over the deep waters, this endless movement,
the coming and going of lucia waters, playing, pulsating.
YOU get dizzy, sweetly, intoxicated, raving over a rhythm.

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MORNING SEA
(K. P. Kavafis)
Let me stand here.
Let me look at nature for a while
the morning sea and the cloudless sky,
bright blue and yellow bank, everything,
beautifully and profusely lit-up.
Let me stand here.
And let me fool myself that I see them
(I saw them indeed for a moment when I first stood here)
and let me not bring here my fantasies, my idols of pleasure.

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WHITE GREEK CHAPEL
(T. K. Papatsonis)
White greek chapel lashed by sunlight.....
Vineyards all around you, melon fields,
fruit-bearing fig-trees and, here and there,
solitary, some olive trees...scorched and golden.
the blades of grass steam-chaff by now....
and instead of angels, your cicadas sing the Canon of Mercy
in their own way every afternoon until late.
It is an overturned throne all this blue
of a plain sky which once was
the Measure of the Dorians
resting firmly upon the gold bullions
of your blessed sea.....

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FROM " MARCH OF THE OCEAN"
(Yiannis Ritsos)
Sea oh! Sea in our minds, our souls, and vains, oh Sea
we saw the ships bringing the mystical lands
here on the golden sandy shore
where the evening travellers dally.
We dressed our childhood loves
with moist seaweed.
To the seashore gods we offered
shiny shells and pebbles.
Morning colors disolved in the water' s
conflagrations of sunsets on the backs of seagulls,
masts pointing to the infinite
open thresholds to the steps of night
and over the sleep of stone
in mid-air, in full light, incessand
the song of the sea
entering through the small windows
designing gardens, reflections and dreams
on the silent window panes on the slumbering foreheads.
Outside on the sun-porch,by the seaside
is our simple evening table
where spring moistens wheat bread
and the moon paints secretly
on the Greek clay jars
scenes from Troy
Mother, you knew we' d leave
and you salted our supper with tears,
stooped and sorrowful beneath the stars
while the girls engaged to Odysseus
sinhed at the window sills.
A tiny prayer of solitude
beneath the evening rain
the icon stand of St. Nikolas at the seahore
where Autum stops
to cast a coin of sadness and yellow leaf
as the din of storm moves away on the dull sandy shore
the tearfull starlight of silent September..
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FROM  "MARINA OF THE ROCKS"
(Odysseus Elytis)
Going down toward the seashores
the coves with pebbles
there was cold salty seaweed
and even deeper a human feeling that bled
and you spread out your hands in surprise saying its name
rising lightly toward the transparency of the depths
where your own starfish glittered.
Listen, the word is the prudence of the lands
and time the passionate sculptor of man
and the sun stands above him, hold tightly a love
having a bitter taste of storm on your lips...
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FROM  " ALCYONE"
(I. M. Panagiotopoulos)
I bent, I watch the water, take it on my palm,
sea of down, sea of night
blooms with crocus and jasmine.
Crocus is the " Parisienne" of Crete.
Jasmine is Euripos.
Ariadne lies in ambush with her silver thread.
With her collar open.
There my fingers suffer.
I want to grasp the double axe and chop my fingers.
My only fear is that my fingers will always exist,
without Dictynna or Britomate
carved on a rose-colored rock.
Ship of Athens with the black singal of your top mast,
the ancient women of the Aegean come down to the seashore naked,
their immortal, shapely bodies, are full of asterisms.
I bent to speak into your ear,
to feel your undulating locks of hair around me,
to breath in deeply your darkness,
molded with perfumes of Phoenicia.

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SLEEP
(Kostas Karyotakis)
Will the gift and fate be granted us
to go and die some night
on the green seashore of our homeland?
Sweetly we will sleep, like little children,
sweetly... And above us, in the heavens,
stars and wordly matters will depart.
The sea will caress us like a dream
will carry us to lands which do not exist.
The sea-breezes will be like cupids in our hair
and the breath of sea-weed will make us fragrant
and beneath our big eyelids,
without hearing, we will laugh.
The roses will leave the fences
and come to be our pillow.
To turn our sleep into harmony,
the nightingales will give up their sleep.

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OH! DOVE OF THE SOUL....
(George Sarantaris)
Oh! dove of the soul, farewell,
farewell now with the meltemi,
and kiss for me all the pearls you meet;
if you dont see me, dont feer,I will celebrate with you;
on our voyage we' ll raise the waters of the sea
to bless what we ' ve loved
and what we' re no longer forget.
The sea broke into countless crystals,
we gatherred them and riding on the wind we travel
and throw them wherever we see women tormented;
then the seas are reborn
and boundless innocence characterizes at them;
then we, the men, fly higher in the sky
to enjoy the glow from far away
while the women relate eternally to the infants
the birth of the seas..

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TREMBLING SWEETLY
(Photis Angoules)
Let the silver wake tremble gently on the waters
of sea, the waves fade away like a lullaby,
and unwillingly lull to sleep the fisherman in his boat
who stays sleepless for mooring at dawn.
And from the land across, as you look, you see
the sparse lights playing, flickering,
as if speaking secretly to your soul and you are unable
to understand what they tell you in their visual tongue.
And as the charms of sea and sky intoxicate you
and in the drunkenness of joy you forget your pain
at such a moment, the dark thought may
not cross your mind; the thought that you live to die.

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THE LADY OF SOUTH WIND
(Tassos Leivaditis)
My Nymphs, who pass and go southward,
did you, perhaps, see her playing with seagulls on her rock?
At a loom of swallow - fish,
sea - maidens weave for us our white sails
and a joung sailor walking on the waves
awakes the sea with salvos and apples!
Pursued by the west wind she ran on the sand
gathering the waves on her white appron;
sun, bring her back, north wind, bring her back to us,
as she wanders on the backs of dolphins in sea - weed gardens,
with a thousand seagulls behind her holding her skirt,
with a thousand breams around her, in her azure smiles!
Lady of our white sails, my Mermaid Holy Virgin,
awake, Lady of Kalymnos, awake with three bitter - lemons,
and give us your braids to weaveour sails,
and send us a kiss that we may sail with a fair wind!
but don' t you hear the waves, slender annd tall Lady of the sea?
Don' t you see that the winnds fight for your sake
and from their masts, far away, with their white caps,
the young sailors of the east wind greet you from the skies?
Songs of the sea are crammed in sea - shells;
in an urchin the world' s secrets are revealed,
and the wind that suddenly undid the peach tree' s bust
as she started running upon the rocks;
children chase her with two sea - shells  of love,
and with cannonades of plums the saillors break her door!

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FROM " ROMANCE"
(George Seferis)
Our land is closed-in , all mountains
which have for their roof a law sky day and night.
We have no rivers we have no wells we have no sprigs,
only a few cisterns, empty, too, which echo and worship them.
A still, hollow sound, like our loneliness,
like our love, like our bodies.
It seems strange to us that once we could build
our homes our hovels and our sheepfolds.
And our weddings, the tender wreaths and fingers
become inexplicable enigmas for our souls.
How were our children born, how did they grow strong?
Our land is closed-in. It is closed-in
by two black Clashing Rocks. At the harbors,
on Sundays, when we go down to breathe
we see, illuminated at sunset,
broken timbers from voyages which did not end
bodies which no longer know how to love.
Here end the works of the sea, the works of love.
Some day, those who will live here where we end,
if by chance the blood turned black and overflowed in its memory,
let them turn the heads of the victims toward the darkness:
we who had nothing, will teach them peace.

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FROM " AMORGOS "
(Nikos Gatsos)
With their homeland tied to the sails and the oars
handing in the wind
the shipwrecked sailors sllept calmly like dead wild beasts
in the sponges' sheets
But the eyes of seaweed are turned toward the sea
lest the south wind bring them back with the freshly
painded tall-ships.
A lost elephant is worth more than two rocking breasts of a maiden
if only the chapel roofs lit on the mountains
with the fervour of the evening star
the oblivion birds should roll the masts
with the steady white blow of the new step
and then winds will come swans bodies that kept
immaculate tender and immobile.
In the shop rollers in the kitchen
garden tornadoes
when women' s eyes became coals annd broke the
chestnut - seller' hearts
when the harvest stopped and the crickets' hopes started.

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