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Comments on Greek painting, art, contemporary thought

Our blog is an artistic, cultural guide to the Greek landscapes. At the same time it offers an introduction to the history of Greek fine arts, Greek artists, mainly Greek painters, as well as to the recent artistic movements

Our aim is to present the Greek landscapes in a holistic way: Greek landscapes refer to pictures and images of Greece, to paintings and art, to poetry and literature, to ancient philosophy and history, to contemporary thought and culture...
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greek artists, contemporary thought, greek painters, literature, greek paintings, modern greek artists

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Comments & Greek artists: In the long ago land that glided the dark door wide...

Poets & Greek artists, modern Greek painters


Yannis Stavrou, Winter's Evening, Thessaloniki V, oil on canvas

Dylan Thomas

A Winter's Tale

It is a winter's tale
That the snow blind twilight ferries over the lakes
And floating fields from the farm in the cup of the vales,
Gliding windless through the hand folded flakes,
The pale breath of cattle at the stealthy sail,

And the stars falling cold,
And the smell of hay in the snow, and the far owl
Warning among the folds, and the frozen hold
Flocked with the sheep white smoke of the farm house cowl
In the river wended vales where the tale was told.

Once when the world turned old
On a star of faith pure as the drifting bread,
As the food and flames of the snow, a man unrolled
The scrolls of fire that burned in his heart and head,
Torn and alone in a farm house in a fold

Of fields. And burning then
In his firelit island ringed by the winged snow
And the dung hills white as wool and the hen
Roosts sleeping chill till the flame of the cock crow
Combs through the mantled yards and the morning men

Stumble out with their spades,
The cattle stirring, the mousing cat stepping shy,
The puffed birds hopping and hunting, the milkmaids
Gentle in their clogs over the fallen sky,
And all the woken farm at its white trades,

He knelt, he wept, he prayed,
By the spit and the black pot in the log bright light
And the cup and the cut bread in the dancing shade,
In the muffled house, in the quick of night,
At the point of love, forsaken and afraid.

He knelt on the cold stones,
He wept form the crest of grief, he prayed to the veiled sky
May his hunger go howling on bare white bones
Past the statues of the stables and the sky roofed sties
And the duck pond glass and the blinding byres alone

Into the home of prayers
And fires where he should prowl down the cloud
Of his snow blind love and rush in the white lairs.
His naked need struck him howling and bowed
Though no sound flowed down the hand folded air

But only the wind strung
Hunger of birds in the fields of the bread of water, tossed
In high corn and the harvest melting on their tongues.
And his nameless need bound him burning and lost
When cold as snow he should run the wended vales among

The rivers mouthed in night,
And drown in the drifts of his need, and lie curled caught
In the always desiring centre of the white
Inhuman cradle and the bride bed forever sought
By the believer lost and the hurled outcast of light.

Deliver him, he cried,
By losing him all in love, and cast his need
Alone and naked in the engulfing bride,
Never to flourish in the fields of the white seed
Or flower under the time dying flesh astride.

Listen. The minstrels sing
In the departed villages. The nightingale,
Dust in the buried wood, flies on the grains of her wings
And spells on the winds of the dead his winter's tale.
The voice of the dust of water from the withered spring

Is telling. The wizened
Stream with bells and baying water bounds. The dew rings
On the gristed leaves and the long gone glistening
Parish of snow. The carved mouths in the rock are wind swept strings.
Time sings through the intricately dead snow drop. Listen.

It was a hand or sound
In the long ago land that glided the dark door wide
And there outside on the bread of the ground
A she bird rose and rayed like a burning bride.
A she bird dawned, and her breast with snow and scarlet downed.

Look. And the dancers move
On the departed, snow bushed green, wanton in moon light
As a dust of pigeons. Exulting, the grave hooved
Horses, centaur dead, turn and tread the drenched white
Paddocks in the farms of birds. The dead oak walks for love.

The carved limbs in the rock
Leap, as to trumpets. Calligraphy of the old
Leaves is dancing. Lines of age on the stones weave in a flock.
And the harp shaped voice of the water's dust plucks in a fold
Of fields. For love, the long ago she bird rises. Look.

And the wild wings were raised
Above her folded head, and the soft feathered voice
Was flying through the house as though the she bird praised
And all the elements of the slow fall rejoiced
That a man knelt alone in the cup of the vales,

In the mantle and calm,
By the spit and the black pot in the log bright light.
And the sky of birds in the plumed voice charmed
Him up and he ran like a wind after the kindling flight
Past the blind barns and byres of the windless farm.

In the poles of the year
When black birds died like priests in the cloaked hedge row
And over the cloth of counties the far hills rode near,
Under the one leaved trees ran a scarecrow of snow
And fast through the drifts of the thickets antlered like deer,

Rags and prayers down the knee-
Deep hillocks and loud on the numbed lakes,
All night lost and long wading in the wake of the she-
Bird through the times and lands and tribes of the slow flakes.
Listen and look where she sails the goose plucked sea,

The sky, the bird, the bride,
The cloud, the need, the planted stars, the joy beyond
The fields of seed and the time dying flesh astride,
The heavens, the heaven, the grave, the burning font.
In the far ago land the door of his death glided wide,

And the bird descended.
On a bread white hill over the cupped farm
And the lakes and floating fields and the river wended
Vales where he prayed to come to the last harm
And the home of prayers and fires, the tale ended.

The dancing perishes
On the white, no longer growing green, and, minstrel dead,
The singing breaks in the snow shoed villages of wishes
That once cut the figures of birds on the deep bread
And over the glazed lakes skated the shapes of fishes

Flying. The rite is shorn
Of nightingale and centaur dead horse. The springs wither
Back. Lines of age sleep on the stones till trumpeting dawn.
Exultation lies down. Time buries the spring weather
That belled and bounded with the fossil and the dew reborn.

For the bird lay bedded
In a choir of wings, as though she slept or died,
And the wings glided wide and he was hymned and wedded,
And through the thighs of the engulfing bride,
The woman breasted and the heaven headed

Bird, he was brought low,
Burning in the bride bed of love, in the whirl-
Pool at the wanting centre, in the folds
Of paradise, in the spun bud of the world.
And she rose with him flowering in her melting snow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, modern Greek artists: Where the corvettes spread the sails Down on the earth a shadow searches for its lost body...

Ships in Greek painting, Greek artists, painters


Yannis Stavrou, Piraeus Port II,oil on canvas

Andreas Embirikos

Insight of Morning Hours

Natural inclination
The dove of our heartbeat spreads it around
The tears of rivers flow always
They are tears of unconcealable happiness
They are lakes where snow-white storks lived long ago
No south-westerly settles in the sugar-canes
And even if at a gunshot the clouds lift
And rise into thinner layers
Where the corvettes spread the sails
Down on the earth a shadow searches for its lost body
The weather in the valley which stole it from her
Thickens the mists that hide it
The lake’s treasures are restless, their fur rises
Seaweed and elemental matter stir in the depths
A jellyfish weeps for yesterday’s transparency
Which will return with the first fishing-light
Before winter sets in
Before anyone thinks of lighting the beacon
Under which a blonde woman considers her future
The lighthouse-keeper bends to her lips and kisses them
As mariners kiss their symplegades.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Comments & modern Greek artists, painters: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day...

Poetry & Greek artists, modern Greek painters


Yannis Stavrou, Portait of a Young Woman, oil on canvas

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate...


William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand'rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow'st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

From fairest creatures we desire increase

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory;
But thou contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed'st thy light's flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Thou that art now the world's fresh ornament,
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And tender churl mak'st waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be:
To eat the world's due, by the grave and thee.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, painters: it's later than you think...

Poetry & contemporary Greek artists, Greek artists


Yannis Stavrou, Portrait of a woman, oil on canvas

Oh, inspire me, Muse, I pray...

Robert William Service

It is later than you think

Lone amid the cafe's cheer,
Sad of heart am I to-night;
Dolefully I drink my beer,
But no single line I write.
There's the wretched rent to pay,
Yet I glower at pen and ink:
Oh, inspire me, Muse, I pray,
It is later than you think!

Hello! there's a pregnant phrase.
Bravo! let me write it down;
Hold it with a hopeful gaze,
Gauge it with a fretful frown;
Tune it to my lyric lyre . . .
Ah! upon starvation's brink,
How the words are dark and dire:
It is later than you think.

Weigh them well. . . . Behold yon band,
Students drinking by the door,
Madly merry, bock in hand,
Saucers stacked to mark their score.
Get you gone, you jolly scamps;
Let your parting glasses clink;
Seek your long neglected lamps:
It is later than you think.

Look again: yon dainty blonde,
All allure and golden grace,
Oh so willing to respond
Should you turn a smiling face.
Play your part, poor pretty doll;
Feast and frolic, pose and prink;
There's the Morgue to end it all,
And it's later than you think.

Yon's a playwright -- mark his face,
Puffed and purple, tense and tired;
Pasha-like he holds his place,
Hated, envied and admired.
How you gobble life, my friend;
Wine, and woman soft and pink!
Well, each tether has its end:
Sir, it's later than you think.

See yon living scarecrow pass
With a wild and wolfish stare
At each empty absinthe glass,
As if he saw Heaven there.
Poor damned wretch, to end your pain
There is still the Greater Drink.
Yonder waits the sanguine Seine . . .
It is later than you think.

Lastly, you who read; aye, you
Who this very line may scan:
Think of all you planned to do . . .
Have you done the best you can?
See! the tavern lights are low;
Black's the night, and how you shrink!
God! and is it time to go?
Ah! the clock is always slow;
It is later than you think;
Sadly later than you think;
Far, far later than you think.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, modern Greek painters: I like a look of Agony...

Literature & Greek artists, modern Greek painters


Yannis Stavrou, Night patrol, oil on canvas

Emily Dickinson

I like a look of Agony

I like a look of Agony,
Because I know it's true—
Men do not sham Convulsion,
Nor simulate, a Throe—

The Eyes glaze once—and that is Death—
Impossible to feign
The Beads upon the Forehead
By homely Anguish strung.

If the foolish, call them "flowers"

If the foolish, call them "flowers"—
Need the wiser, tell?
If the Savants "Classify" them
It is just as well!

Those who read the "Revelations"
Must not criticize
Those who read the same Edition—
With beclouded Eyes!

Could we stand with that Old "Moses"—
"Canaan" denied—
Scan like him, the stately landscape
On the other side—

Doubtless, we should deem superfluous
Many Sciences,
Not pursued by learned Angels
In scholastic skies!

Low amid that glad Belles lettres
Grant that we may stand,
Stars, amid profound Galaxies—
At that grand "Right hand"!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, Greek painters: three handsome ships leave their berth at nine o’clock...

Ships in Greek painting, Greek artists


Yannis Stavrou, Bleu blanc rouge - Port, oil on canvas

They sail to cast their lights
like topazes on the sea
at night.
They sail
laden with passengers and luggage…

Alexandros Baras

The Cleopatra, the Semiramis and the Theodora

Once every week,
on a given day,
and always at the same hour,
three handsome ships,
the Cleopatra, the Semiramis, and the Theodora,
leave their berth
at nine o’clock
for Piraeus always,
for Brindisi and for Trieste
always.

Without manoeuvres or fuss
or hesitation
or unnecessary blowing on the whistle,
they put out to sea,
the Cleopatra, the Semiramis, and the Theodora,
like certain well-bred people
who take leave of their hosts
without uncouth and superfluous
handshaking.

They leave their berth
at nine o’clock,
for Piraeus always,
for Brindisi and for Trieste
always – rain or shine.
They sail
to daub the blue waters
of the Aegean and the Mediterranean

with smoke.
They sail to cast their lights
like topazes on the sea
at night.
They sail
laden with passengers and luggage….

The Cleopatra, the Semiramis, and the Theodora,
for years now
on the same route,
arriving on the same day
sailing at the same hour.

They resemble white-collar workers
who have become such time machines
that an office door
might come tumbling down
if they were to miss work
even for a single day.

(If the route is always the same
what if it is across an entire Mediterranean
or from one house to another neighbourhood?)
The Cleopatra, the Semiramis, and the Theodora
for a long time now and for many years
have felt the tyranny of boredom,
ploughing always the same route,
mooring always at the same ports.

If I were a Captain,
Yes – si j’etais roit! –
if I were a Captain
on the Cleopatra, the Semiramis, the Theodora,
if I were a Captain
with four gold stripes,
abandoned on this same route

year after year,
on a moonlit night,
in the middle of the sea,
I would climb to the bridge deck
and while the music from the first class saloon
played on,
with my best uniform,
my gold stripes
and shiny decorations,
I would trace a most perfect curve
from the bridge deck
into the water,
gold braid and all,
like a shooting star,
like a hero of inexplicable death.

(translated by Yannis Goumas)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, painters: hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery...

Journey & Greek seascapes, contemporary Greek artists


Yannis Stavrou, Port of Piraeus, oil on canvas

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now...

Konstantinos Kavafis


Ithaka

As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
angry Poseidon-don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians, Cyclops,
wild Poseidon-you won't encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.

Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind-
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you've gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Comments & Greek painting, Greek artists: Waiting for the Barbarians...

Greek poets & Greek artists, moden Greek artists


Yannis Stavrou, Acropolis II, oil on canvas

And now, what's going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution...

Konstantinos Kavafis

Waiting for the Barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn't anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city's main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don't our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they're bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people's faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what's going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Comments & Greek artists: Woman portaits in poetru & Greek painting...

Woman portraits by poets & Greek artists


Yannis Stavrou, Portrait of a woman, oil on canvas

Percy Bysshe Shelley

And like a dying lady, lean and pale

And like a dying lady, lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapp'd in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
The moon arose up in the murky East,
A white and shapeless mass—

Art thou pale for weariness

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

One word is too often profaned

I.
One word is too often profaned
For me to profane it,
One feeling too falsely disdained
For thee to disdain it;
One hope is too like despair
For prudence to smother,
And pity from thee more dear
Than that from another.

II.
I can give not what men call love,
But wilt thou accept not
The worship the heart lifts above
And the Heavens reject not,--
The desire of the moth for the star,
Of the night for the morrow,
The devotion to something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, painters: The eye languidly learns to illumine the invisible, exerts itself to see things...

Greek poets & Greek artists, contemporary Greek artists


Yannis Stavrou, Man & Tree, oil on canvas

Haris Vlavianos

Pascal's Will

I

The eye languidly
learns to illumine the invisible,
exerts itself to see things
the moment when their essence flees,
the moment when withdrawn from their temporary form
they lose the (holy) aura of presence.


II

Just before he closed his eyes
he asked his sister
to stitch inside his coat’s lining,
(without even looking at it),
the note that contained
the “incontestable proof
of God’s existence”,
convinced that upon opening it
he would see His merciful,
almighty face.


III

The glacial figure of the philosopher
impressed upon his sister’s gaze,
(we can visualize the scene,
the space where it unravels),
and the forsaken – forever now –
content of its last-minute thought.

IV


The night casually spreading
on his lifeless body
has aptly interpreted
his last wish:
not as the need
of a self-centered believer
eager to disclose the truth
that he has just invented
but as the desire
to hand over to the progeny
the void letter
of a dignifying,
profoundly human gesture.


V


The inevitable knowledge of a new reality.
And the mind that now rests
(reconciled with the perpetual music of concepts)
inside its ethereal creations.
The vindication of the thinker that alone,
without the blessings of the specters,
has brought to the world the measures
of his own annihilation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Comments & Greek artists: No one will tell our fate...

Greek poetry & Greek painting, Greek artists, modern Greek painters


Yannis Stavrou, Thessaloniki ΙΙΙ, oil on canvas

No one will tell our fate, and that is that,
We ourselves will tell the sun’s fate, and that is that...

Odysseas Elytis


This Wind that Loiters

This wind that loiters among the quinces
This insect that sucks the vines
This stone that the scorpion wears next to his skin
And these sheaves on the threshing floor
That play the giant to small barefoot children.

The images of the Resurrection
On walls that the pine trees scratched with their fingers
This whitewash that carries the noonday on its back
And the cicadas, the cicadas in the ears of the trees.

Great summer of chalk
Great summer of cork
The red sails slanting in gusts of wind
On the sea-floor white creatures, sponges
Accordions of the rocks
Perch from the fingers even of bad fishermen
Proud reefs on the fishing lines of the sun.

No one will tell our fate, and that is that,
We ourselves will tell the sun’s fate, and that is that.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Comments & contemporary Greek artists: by this distant northern sea...

Sea & Greek artists, modern Greek artists, Greek painting


Yannis Stavrou, Thermaikos, Thessaloniki, oil on canvas

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Agaean, and it brought

Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow

Of human misery; we

Find also in the sound a thought,

Hearing it by this distant northern sea...


Matthew Arnold


Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand;
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the A gaean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.


Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Matthew Arnold (1822-1888)

Apolo Mousagetes

Through the black, rushing smoke-bursts,
Thick breaks the red flame;
All Etna heaves fiercely
Her forest-clothed frame.

Not here, O Apollo!
Are haunts meet for thee.
But, where Helicon breaks down
In cliff to the sea,

Where the moon-silver'd inlets
Send far their light voice
Up the still vale of Thisbe,
O speed, and rejoice!

On the sward at the cliff-top
Lie strewn the white flocks,
On the cliff-side the pigeons
Roost deep in the rocks.

In the moonlight the shepherds,
Soft lull'd by the rills,
Lie wrapped in their blankets
Asleep on the hills.

--What forms are these coming
So white through the gloom?
What garments out-glistening
The gold-flower'd broom?

What sweet-breathing presence
Out-perfumes the thyme?
What voices enrapture
The night's balmy prime?

'Tis Apollo comes leading
His choir, the Nine.
--The leader is fairest,
But all are divine.

They are lost in the hollows!
They stream up again!
What seeks on this mountain
The glorified train?--

They bathe on this mountain,
In the spring by their road;
Then on to Olympus,
Their endless abode.

--Whose proase do they mention?
Of what is it told?--
What will be for ever;
What was from of old.

First hymn they the Father
Of all things; and then,
The rest of immortals,
The action of men.

The day in his hotness,
The strife with the palm;
The night in her silence,
The stars in their calm.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Comments & Greek artists: the famous Greek afternoon of some Greek City...

Poetry & Greek artists, contemporary Greek artists


Yannis Stavrou, Sunset in Thessaloniki, oil on canvas

robed & long gold haired in
the famous Greek afternoon
of some Greek City...

Jack Kerouac

Daydreams for Ginsberg

I lie on my back at midnight
hearing the marvelous strange chime
of the clocks, and know it's mid-
night and in that instant the whole
world swims into sight for me
in the form of beautiful swarm-
ing m u t t a worlds-
everything is happening, shining
Buhudda-lands,
bhuti

blazing in faith, I know I'm
forever right & all's I got to
do (as I hear the ordinary
extant voices of ladies talking
in some kitchen at midnight
oilcloth cups of cocoa
cardore to mump the
rinnegain in his
darlin drain-) i will write
it, all the talk of the world
everywhere in this morning, leav-
ing open parentheses sections
for my own accompanying inner
thoughts-with roars of me
all brain-all world
roaring-vibrating-I put
it down, swiftly, 1,000 words
(of pages) compressed into one second
of time-I'll be long
robed & long gold haired in
the famous Greek afternoon
of some Greek City
Fame Immortal & they'll
have to find me where they find
the t h n u p f t of my
shroud bags flying
flag yagging Lucien
Midnight back in their
mouths-Gore Vidal'll
be amazed, annoyed-
my words'll be writ in gold
& preserved in libraries like
Finnegans Wake & Visions of Neal

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, painters: love took her in his big boat...

Poetry & Greek artists, Greek painters


Yannis Stavrou, Red Boat (detail), oil on canvas

love took her in his big boat
and she shoveled the ocean
in a scalding joy...

Anne Sexton

End, Middle, Beginning

There was an unwanted child.
Aborted by three modern methods
she hung on to the womb,
hooked onto I
building her house into it
and it was to no avail,
to black her out.

At her birth
she did not cry,
spanked indeed,
but did not yell-
instead snow fell out of her mouth.

As she grew, year by year,
her hair turned like a rose in a vase,
and bled down her face.
Rocks were placed on her to keep
the growing silent,
and though they bruised,
they did not kill,
though kill was tangled into her beginning.

They locked her in a football
but she merely curled up
and pretended it was a warm doll's house.
They pushed insects in to bite her off
and she let them crawl into her eyes
pretending they were a puppet show.

Later, later,
grown fully, as they say,
they gave her a ring,
and she wore it like a root
and said to herself,
'To be not loved is the human condition,'
and lay like a stature in her bed.

Then once,
by terrible chance,
love took her in his big boat
and she shoveled the ocean
in a scalding joy.

Then,
slowly,
love seeped away,
the boat turned into paper
and she knew her fate,
at last.
Turn where you belong,
into a deaf mute
that metal house,
let him drill you into no one.


Anne Sexton (1928-1974)

45 Mercy Street


In my dream,
drilling into the marrow
of my entire bone,
my real dream,
I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill
searching for a street sign -
namely MERCY STREET.
Not there.

I try the Back Bay.
Not there.
Not there.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window
of the foyer,
the three flights of the house
with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
the servants.
I know the cupboard of Spode
the boat of ice, solid silver,
where the butter sits in neat squares
like strange giant's teeth
on the big mahogany table.
I know it well.
Not there.

Where did you go?
45 Mercy Street,
with great-grandmother
kneeling in her whale-bone corset
and praying gently but fiercely
to the wash basin,
at five A.M.
at noon
dozing in her wiggy rocker,
grandfather taking a nap in the pantry,
grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid,
and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower
on her forehead to cover the curl
of when she was good and when she was...
And where she was begat
and in a generation
the third she will beget,
me,
with the stranger's seed blooming
into the flower called Horrid.

I walk in a yellow dress
and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes,
enough pills, my wallet, my keys,
and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five?
I walk. I walk.
I hold matches at street signs
for it is dark,
as dark as the leathery dead
and I have lost my green Ford,
my house in the suburbs,
two little kids
sucked up like pollen by the bee in me
and a husband
who has wiped off his eyes
in order not to see my inside out
and I am walking and looking
and this is no dream
just my oily life
where the people are alibis
and the street is unfindable for an
entire lifetime.

Pull the shades down -
I don't care!
Bolt the door, mercy,
erase the number,
rip down the street sign,
what can it matter,
what can it matter to this cheapskate
who wants to own the past
that went out on a dead ship
and left me only with paper?

Not there.

I open my pocketbook,
as women do,
and fish swim back and forth
between the dollars and the lipstick.
I pick them out,
one by one
and throw them at the street signs,
and shoot my pocketbook
into the Charles River.
Next I pull the dream off
and slam into the cement wall
of the clumsy calendar
I live in,
my life,
and its hauled up
notebooks.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, modern Greek painters: On the deck of a ship, rising, falling...

Poems & Greek artists, contemporary Greek artists


Yannis Stavrou, On Waves, oil on canvas

In the pull of the wind I stand, lonely,
On the deck of a ship, rising, falling,
Wild night around me, wild water under me,
Whipped by the storm, screaming and calling...

Sara Teasdale

At Midnight

Now at last I have come to see what life is,
Nothing is ever ended, everything only begun,
And the brave victories that seem so splendid
Are never really won.

Even love that I built my spirit's house for,
Comes like a brooding and a baffled guest,
And music and men's praise and even laughter
Are not so good as rest.

sara teasdale
Sara Teasdale (1884-1993)

At Night

Love said, "Wake still and think of me,"
Sleep, "Close your eyes till break of day,"
But Dreams came by and smilingly
Gave both to Love and Sleep their way.

At Sea

In the pull of the wind I stand, lonely,
On the deck of a ship, rising, falling,
Wild night around me, wild water under me,
Whipped by the storm, screaming and calling.

Earth is hostile and the sea hostile,
Why do I look for a place to rest?
I must fight always and die fighting
With fear an unhealing wound in my breast.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, modern Greek artists: If I were able to live my life anew

Literature & Greek painting, Greek artists, Greek painters


Yannis Stavrou, Sunset in Thessaloniki, oil on canvas


take more trips,
contemplate more sunsets,
climb more mountains, swim more rivers...

Jorge Luis Borges

Instantes

Si pudiera vivir nuevamente mi vida,
en la próxima trataría de cometer más errores.
No intentaría ser tan perfecto, me relajaría más.
Sería más tonto de lo que he sido,
de hecho tomaría muy pocas cosas con seriedad.
Sería menos higiénico.
Correría más riesgos,
haría más viajes,
contemplaría más atardeceres,
subiría más montañas, nadaría más ríos.
Iría a más lugares adonde nunca he ido,
comería más helados y menos habas,
tendría más problemas reales y menos imaginarios.

Yo fui una de esas personas que vivió sensata
y prolíficamente cada minuto de su vida;
claro que tuve momentos de alegría.
Pero si pudiera volver atrás trataría
de tener solamente buenos momentos.

Por si no lo saben, de eso está hecha la vida,
sólo de momentos; no te pierdas el ahora.

Yo era uno de esos que nunca
iban a ninguna parte sin un termómetro,
una bolsa de agua caliente,
un paraguas y un paracaídas;
si pudiera volver a vivir, viajaría más liviano.

Si pudiera volver a vivir
comenzaría a andar descalzo a principios
de la primavera
y seguiría descalzo hasta concluir el otoño.
Daría más vueltas en calesita,
contemplaría más amaneceres,
y jugaría con más niños,
si tuviera otra vez vida por delante.

Pero ya ven, tengo 85 años…
y sé que me estoy muriendo.

Instants

If I were able to live my life anew,
In the next I would try to commit more errors.
I would not try to be so perfect, I would relax more.
I would be more foolish than I’ve been,
In fact, I would take few things seriously.
I would be less hygienic.
I would run more risks,
take more trips,
contemplate more sunsets,
climb more mountains, swim more rivers.
I would go to more places where I’ve never been,
I would eat more ice cream and fewer beans,
I would have more real problems and less imaginary ones.

I was one of those people that lived sensibly
and prolifically each minute of his life;
Of course I had moments of happiness.
If I could go back I would try
to have only good moments.

Because if you didn’t know, of that is life made:
only of moments; Don’t lose the now.

I was one of those that never
went anywhere without a thermometer,
a hot-water bottle,
an umbrella, and a parachute;
If I could live again, I would travel lighter.

If I could live again,
I would begin to walk barefoot from the beginning of spring
and I would continue barefoot until autumn ends.
I would take more cart rides,
contemplate more dawns,
and play with more children,
If I had another life ahead of me.

But already you see, I am 85,
and I know that I am dying.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Comments & Greek artists, Greek painters: in the dawn of a most stormy life...

Poetry & Greek artists, Greek painters


Yannis Stavrou, On Waves, oil on canvas

Edgar Allan Poe

Alone

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were---I have not seen
As others saw---I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I lov'd, I loved alone.
Then---in my childhood---in the dawn
Of a most stormy life---was drawn
From ev'ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that 'round me roll'd
In its autumn tint of gold---
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass'd me flying by---
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.