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If I had to choose between music, dance or photography, I would choose all three, for I am enchanted with music, thrilled by dance and redeemed by photography!
Αν έπρεπε να διαλέξω ανάμεσα στη μουσική, το χορό και τη φωτογραφία, θα επέλεγα και τις τρεις τέχνες. Η μουσική με μαγεύει, ο χορός με ενθουσιάζει και η φωτογραφία με λυτρώνει!...

Παρασκευή, 2 Μαΐου 2014

Yannis Ritsos / Epitaphios / Mikis Theodorakis

Yannis Ritsos (1909-1990)
"Yannis Ritsos," wrote Peter Levi in the Times Literary Supplement of the late Greek poet, "is the old-fashioned kind of great poet. His output has been enormous, his life heroic and eventful, his voice is an embodiment of national courage, his mind is tirelessly active." At their best, Ritsos' poems, "in their directness and with their sense of anguish, are moving, and testify to the courage of at least one human soul in conditions which few of us have faced or would have triumphed over had we faced them," as Philip Sherrard noted in the Washington Post Book World. Twice nominated for the Nobel Prize, Ritsos won the Lenin Peace Prize, the former Soviet Union's highest literary honor, as well as numerous literary prizes from across Eastern Europe prior to his death in 1990.

The hardship and misfortune of Ritsos' early life played a large role in all of his later writings. His wealthy family suffered financial ruin during his childhood, and soon afterward his father and sister went insane. Tuberculosis claimed his mother and an older brother and later confined Ritsos himself to a sanatorium in Athens for several years. Poetry and the Greek communist movement became the sustaining forces in his life.

Because his writing was frequently political in nature, Ritsos endured periods of persecution from his political foes. One of his most celebrated works, the "Epitaphios," a lament inspired by the assassination of a worker in a large general strike in Salonica, was burned by the Metaxas dictatorship, along with other books, in a ceremony enacted in front of the Temple of Zeus in 1936. After World War II and the annihilation of Greece's National Resistance Movement—a Communist guerrilla organization that attempted to take over the country in a five-year civil war—Ritsos was exiled for four years to the islands of Lemnos, Makronisos, and Ayios Efstratios. His books were banned until 1954. In 1967, when army colonels staged a coup and took over Greece, Ritsos was again deported, then held under house arrest until 1970. His works were again banned.

Ritsos' poetry ranges from the overtly political to the deeply personal, and it often utilizes characters from ancient Greek myths. One of his longer works and the subject of several translations, The Fourth Dimension, is comprised of seventeen monologues that most frequently involve the ancient King Agamemnon and the tragic House of Atreus. Narrated by such classical figures as Persephone, Orestes, Ajax, Phaedra, and Helen of Troy, The Fourth Dimension is a "beautifully written book . . . describing what happens when love and hate and sibling rivalry run amok," commented Stand reviewer Mary Fujimaki, who also praised the work's "colour, the excitement, the shifting back and forth from past to present that naturally makes the stories seem more familiar to modern readers." Shorter in length are the verses from 1991's Repetitions, Testimonies, Parentheses, a collection of eighty relatively brief poems that incorporate Greek myths and history. "Here . . . is the Ritsos of 'simple things,'" commented Minas Savvas in a review for World Literature Today. "The desire to draw out a moment or an object and magically expand it for its mystifying, arcane significance is wonderfully evident in these laconic, almost epigrammatic poems."

Many critics rank Ritsos' less political poems as his best work. George Economou, writing in the New York Times Book Review, stated that "in the short poems, most of which are not overtly political, Ritsos is full of surprises. He records, at times celebrates, the enigmatic, the irrational, the mysterious and invisible qualities of experience." Vernon Young in Hudson Review cited Ritsos' "remarkable gift . . . for suggesting the sound and color of silence, the impending instant, the transfixed hush." Similarly, John Simon pointed to the surreality of Ritsos' work. In a review of Ritsos in Parenthesis for Poetry, Simon wrote: "What I find remarkable about Ritsos' poetry is its ability to make extraordinary constructs out of the most unforcedly ordinary ingredients—surreality out of reality. And seem not even to make it, just find it." Simon also found a loneliness in Ritsos' poems. He explained: "Ritsos . . . is also a great bard of loneliness, but of loneliness ennobled and overcome. Poem after poem, image upon image, suffuses aloneness with a gallows humor that begins to mitigate its ravages and makes the person in the poem a Pyrrhic winner." Ritsos' final volume of verse, Argha, poli argha mesa sti nihta, was completed just prior to his death and published in its original Greek in 1991. "The imagistic dynamism, lyric intensity, and astonishing quasi-surrealistic expressions" that characterized the poet's work for his seventy-year career are, in the opinion of World Literature Today reviewer M. Byron Raizis, "manifest again, as refreshing and effective as any time during . . . his creative activity."

His career took a leap forward when, in May of 1936, he composed his Epitaphios immediately after the slaughter of twelve tobacco workers by Thessaloniki police during a strike. Issued in ten thousand copies, this became the first of Ritsos’s poems to be banned. The Metaxas dictatorship, when it came to power in August, publicly burned the 250 unsold copies at the Temple of Olympian Zeus.
This was a lengthy poem which uses the mechanics of traditional poetry but expresses in a clear and simple language a message of fraternity and brotherhood.

Poetry: Yannis Ritsos
Music: Mikis Theodorakis
Sings: Mary Linda
Translation: Amy Mims

marrow of my bones, heart of my own heart,
sparrow of my tiny courtyard, flower of my loneliness.
Where did my boy fly away? Where's he gone? Where's he leaving me?
The bird-cage is empty now, not a drop of water in the fonnt. 

What ever made your dear eyes close and you are blind to my tears?
How are yon frozen in yonr tracks and deàf to my bitter words? 

My fingers would slip through your cnrly hair, aIl through the night,
wliile you were fast asleep and I was keeping watch by your side.
Your eyebrows weIl shaped, as if drawn with a delicate pencil,
seemed to sketch an arch where my gaze could nestle and be at rest.
Your glistening eyes reflected the distances of the sky
at dawn and I tried to keep a single tear from misting them.
Your sweetly scented lips, whenever you spoke, made the boulders
and blighted trees blossom and nightmgales flutter their wings. 

On a day in May you left me, on that May day I lost you,
in springtime you loved so weIl, my son, when you went upstairs,
To the sun-drenched roof and looked out and your eyes never had
their lill of drinking in the light of the whole wide world at large.
With your manly voice so sweet and so warm, you recounted
as many things as all the pebbles strewn along the seashore.
My son, you told me that all these wonderful things will be ours,
but now your light has died out, our brightness and fire are gone.

My star, you've set, fading out in the dark, aIl Creation has set,
and the sun, a black ball of twine, has gathered in its bright light
Crowds keep passing by and jostling me, soldiers trample on me,
but my own gaze never swerves ana my eyes never leave you.
The misty aura of your breath I feel against my cheek;
ah, a buoyant great light's a-float at tlie end of the road.
The palm of a hand bathed in light is wiping the tears from my eyes;
ah my son, the words you spoke rush into my innermost core.
And look now; I've risen again, my limbs can still stand firm;
a blithe light, my brave lad; has lifted me up from the ground.
Now you are shrouded in banners. My child, now go to sleep
I'm on my way to your brothers, beanng your voice with me. 

You were kind and sweet of temper, aIl the good graces were yours, 
all the wind's caresses, all the gillyflowers of the garden.
You were light of foot, treading as softly as a gazelle,
when you stepped past our threshold it always glittered like gold
I drew youth from your youth and to boot, I could even smile.
Old age never daunted me and death I could disregard.
But now where can I hold my ground? Where can I find shelter?
I'm stranded like a withered tree in a plain buried in snow 

Whenever you stood near the window, your brawny shoulder-blades 
filled up the whole entranceway, the sea and the fishermen's boats
The house overflowed with your shadow, tall as an archangel,
and the bright bud of the evening-star sparkled up there in your ear.
Our window was the gateway for all the world, leading out
towards paradise, my dear hght, where the stars were all in bloom. 
As you stood there with your gaze fixed on the glimmering sunset,
you looked like a helmsman steering a ship, which was your own room.
ln the warm blue twilight of evening - ahoy, away -
you sailed me straight into the stillness of ihe milky way
But now this ship has foundered, ils rudder has broken down,
and down in the depths of the ocean, I'm drifting all alone. 

If only I had the immortals' potion if only I had 
A new soul to give you, if only yould wake for a moment,
To see and to speak and delight in the whole of your dream
Standing right there by your side, next to you, bursting with life.
Roadways and public places, balconies, lanes in an uproar,
young maidens are picking flowers to sprinkle on your hair.
My fragrant forest full of tens of thousands of roots and leaves,
how can I the ill-fated believe I can ever lose you?
My son, all things have vanished and abandoned me back here
I have no eyes and cannot see, no mouth to let me speak. 

My son, what Fate has destined you and what Fate was my doom 
to kindle such buming grief, such fire inside my breast?
My sweet lad, you have not been lost, you live inside my veins.
My son, flow deep into all our veins and stay for ever alive.

Yannis Ritsos - Mikis Theodorakis

Ο «Επιτάφιος» αποτελεί ένα λαϊκό μοιρολόι. Ο 15σύλλαβος του δημοτικού μας τραγουδιού, άρτιος και εδώ, οι λέξεις απλές, πολύπαθες, δοκιμασμένες από τα άμεσα βιώματα του ποιητή, υπηρετούν το μοιρολόι της μάνας. Ο Ρίτσος ταυτίζεται με τον πόνο της μάνας, περνά μέσα από εξάρσεις και ταλαντώσεις υποκειμενικού πόνου σε μια αντικειμενικοποίηση: πίσω από τη μάνα που θρηνεί το μοναχογιό της υπάρχει η Πανανθρώπινη Μάνα, η αιώνια θλιμμένη για τα πάθη του Λαού. Ανασύροντας ο ποιητής στην επιφάνεια καταγραμμένες και επεξεργασμένες ήδη συλλογικές μνήμες, ανυψώνει το μοιρολόι της μάνας σε ισχυρή κατάφαση ζωής, αλλά και σε μανιφέστο ταξικής συνειδητοποίησης και μοχλό ταξικής πάλης.


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