Angelos Sikelianós (1884-1951): John Keats

Translated by Timothy Adès

ΓΙΑΝΝΗΣ ΚΗΤΣ

Στῆς Πύλου τὸν πλατὺ γιαλὸ τὸ φωτεινό, στοχὰζομουν
    νὰ φτάνεις συντροφιά μου,
μὲ τὸ καρὰβι τ’ ἀψηλὸ τοῦ Μἑντορα, ἂραμμἑνο ἀργά
    στὴν ἀγκαλιά τῆς ἄμμου.

Δεμἐνοι, μὲ τῶν ἒφηβων, ποὺ πἐτονται μὲ τοὺς Θεούς,
    φτερουγιαστή φιλία,
πρὸς τὰ θρονιὰ νὰ βαίνομε τὰ πέτρινα, ὀποὐ ὸ καιρὸς
    κι’ ὁ λαὸς ἑκὰμαν λεῖα,

τὸν ἀντρα ν’ ἀντικρύσουμε, ποὑ καὶ στὴν τρίτη γενεὰν
    ἀτὰραχα ἐκυβὲρνα
καί γιὰ ταξἱδια ὁ λόγος του καὶ γι’ ἅγιες γνῶμες μἑστωνε
    στὰ φρένα, ὂσον ἑγἑρνα.

Στῆς τριἑτικης πρὸς τοὺς θεούς δαμάλας νὰ βρεΘοῦμε αὐγὴ,
    καὶ τῆ Θυσία παρἑκει,
ν’ ἀκούσουμε τὴ μιὰ κραυγή, ποὺ σὑρανε οἱ τρεῖς κόρες του
    σὰ βουῒσε το πελέκι,

τὴν ἀργογὑριστη ματιά, τὴ μαυροτσίνορη, ἂξαφνα
    στὰ σκότη πνίγοντάς τη,
μὲ τῶν κεράτων ἂνεργο, τὸ μισοφέγγαρο τὸ άχνό,
    περἰχροσο ποὺ ἑπλὰστη.

Τ’ ὰπὰρθενὸ σου τὸ λουτρὸ σὰν ὰδερφὴ τὸν ὰδερφὸ,
    ὴ ἀγάπη μου λογιάστη,
σύντας γυμνὸ θὰ σ’ ἑλουζε καὶ μ΄ ὅμορφο θὰ σ’ ἒντυνε
    χιτὡνα ἡ Πολυκὰστη.

Νὰ σὲ ξυπνῶ, στοχἀζομουν, μὲ τὸ ποδάρι σπρὡχνοντας,
    σὑντας αὑγἡ χαράξει,
τὴν ώρα νὰ μὴ χὰνομε, ζεμὲνον ἀφοῦ προσδοκάει
    τὸ φωτεινὸν ὰμὰξι·

κι’ ὸλημερἰς μὲ τὴν σιωπἡν, ἢ μὲ το λόγο τὸν ὰπλὸν,
    ὸποὺ ἑρχεται καὶ πάει,
νὰ κυβερνᾶμε τ’ ἀλογα, ὸπού ὅλο σειοῦνε τὸ ζυγὸ
    στὅνα καὶ στ’ ἄλλο πλἀϊ.

Μἀ πιότερο ὲστοχαζόμουν, σὑντας τὰ μάτια σου τὰ δυό,
    ποὺ τἀχες σὰν ἀλὰφι,
στοῦ Μενελάου τὰ δὡματα θ’ ἀποξεχνιῶνταν στὸ χαλκὸ
    καί στὸ λαμπρὸ χρυσάφι

καὶ θὰ τηρἀγανε ᾶσειστα, βυθίζοντἀς τα σὲ βυθὸν
    ὰγὐριστο στὴ μνήμη,
τὰ κεχριμπἀρια τὰ βαριά, τὸ φλῶρο ή τ’ ἀσπρο φίλντισι,
    τὸ ἱστορημἑνο ὰσἡμι.

Στοχαζόμουν, σὰ σκύβοντας στ’ αὑτἰ θὰ σούλεγα μ’ ὰργὴ
    φωνὴ χαμηλωμἐνη·
«Κράτει τα μάτια σου ὦ καλέ, γιατί σὲ λίγο θα φανεῖ
    στὰ μάτια μας ή Ἑλένη,

ὰγνὰντια μας θὰ νὰ φανεῖ τοῦ Κύκνου ἡ κόρη ἡ μοναχή
    σὲ λίγο ἑδῶ μπροστά μας.
καὶ τότε πιὰ βυθίζουμε στὸν ποταμὸ τῆς Λησμονιᾶς
    τὰ βλέφαρά μας».

Ἔτσι μοῦ ἀνάφαινες λαμπρός, ὅμως ποιοἰ μ’ έφεραν σ’ ἑσὲ
    χορταριασμὲνοι δρόμοι!
Τὰ πύρινα ὲκατὸφυλλα ποὺ σὅστρωσα στὸν τάφο σου,
    κι’ ὰνθεῖ γιὰ σένα ἡ Ρὡμη,

μοῦ δείχνουνε τὰ ὸλόχρυσα τραγούδια σου, σὰν τὰ κορμιὰ
    ποὺ ὰδρἀ κι’ αρμὰτωμἑνα
σὲ τὰφο ὰρχαῖο πρωτάνοιχτο κυττᾶς τα αστἑρια κι’ ὡς κυττᾶς
    βουλιὰζουνε χαμένα –

κι’ όλο τὸν άξιο θησαυρὸ τὸ Μυκηναῖο ποὺ λὸγιζα
    νὰ πίθωνα μπροστὰ σου,
τὰ κύπελλα καὶ τὰ σπαθιὰ και τὰ πλατιὰ διαβήματα-
    καὶ στὴ νεκρὴ ὸμορφιὰ σου

μιὰ προσωπίδα, ὡσὰν αυτή ποὺ σκἑπαοε τῶν ‘Αχαιῶν
    τὸ βασιλιὰ ἀπὸ κὰτου,
ὸλὸχρυση καὶ ὸλὁτεχνη, πελεκητὴ μὲ τὸ σφυρί,
    στὸ ὰχνὰρι τοῦ θανατου.

On Pylos’ broad and shining shore I pondered
    that you would be my friend,
with Mentor’s lofty ship, moored, as day ended,
    on the embracing strand.

Linked in the light-winged comradeship of youth –
    they soar amidst the gods –
we’d fly away to rocky thrones, made smooth
    by time and multitudes.

We’d stand before the man who, calm and wise,
    three generations ruled;
his speech with voyages and homilies
    was ripe as he was old.

A heifer for the gods, three seasons grown:
    dawn, the blood-rite to come.
Hark! His three daughters yield a single groan,
    against the axe’s hum.

The eye, black-fringed, slow-rolling, in a moment
    by darkness smothered;
the horns, that served no purpose, pallid crescent
    in gold foil covered.
    
I thought with love of your ablutions chaste,    
    as of brother and sister:
your naked form, washed, and in tunic dressed,
    so fine, by Polycastē.            

I thought to urge you with my foot, and wake you,
    at the night’s abating,
lest we lose the very hour, when the shining vehicle
    was yoked and waiting.

All day, unspeaking, or in plain discourses,
    now hither, now thither
we’d range, and steer the swaying yoke of horses
    to one side or other.

But more than this, I thought your gaze would fall,
    your eyes being like a fawn’s,
oblivious on Menelaus’ hall,    
    sinking bright gold and bronze    

to depths of no return, unmoved observer,
    in memory’s sea-chamber,
with glaucous ivory, and fabled silver,
    and ponderous amber.

I thought I spoke with soft unhurried voice,
    bending low to your ear:
“Steady your gaze, my friend! Before our face
    Helen shall soon appear.

“Soon here before us we shall recognise
    the Swan’s peerless daughter,    
and from that time we must immerse our eyes
    in Lethean water.”

The vision gleamed; yet weeds obscured the ways
    by which to you I came!
I strewed your grave with roses all ablaze;
    Rome blossomed in your name.

So blazed your songs of gold, like long-dead men,
    strong and in full harness,        
seen whole in graves exposed, who, being seen,
    founder, dissolve, vanish.

I thought to lay before you fitting treasures:
    what but Mycenae’s booty,
goblets, and battle-swords, and broad tiaras;
    and on your lifeless beauty

a mask, such as the Achaean king of old
    wore, who was laid beneath:
all carved by skilful blade in beaten gold,
    on the faint trace of death.

Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès

© With thanks to Mr Costas Bournazakis.
Published in Long Poem Magazine 2010

Transcription: Themistokles Pantazakos

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