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Seferis, Giorgos: Mythistorema 4. - Argonauts (Μυθιστόρημα Δ´ - Αργοναύτες in English)

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Μυθιστόρημα Δ´ - Αργοναύτες (Greek)

Καὶ ψυχὴ
εἰ μέλλει γνώσεσθαι αὐτὴν
εἰς ψυχὴν
αὐτὴ βλεπτέον:
τὸν ξένο καὶ τὸν ἐχθρὸ τὸν εἴδαμε στὸν καθρέφτη.

Ἤτανε καλὰ παιδιὰ οἱ σύντροφοι, δὲ φωνάζαν
οὔτε ἀπὸ τὸν κάματο οὔτε ἀπὸ τὴ δίψα οὔτε ἀπὸ τὴν παγωνιά,
εἴχανε τὸ φέρσιμο τῶν δέντρων καὶ τῶν κυμάτων
ποὺ δέχουνται τὸν ἄνεμο καὶ τὴ βροχὴ
δέχουνται τὴ νύχτα καὶ τὸν ἥλιο
χωρὶς ν᾿ ἀλλάζουν μέσα στὴν ἀλλαγή.
Ἤτανε καλὰ παιδιά, μέρες ὁλόκληρες
ἵδρωναν στὸ κουπὶ μὲ χαμηλωμένα μάτια
ἀνασαίνοντας μὲ ρυθμὸ
καὶ τὸ αἷμα τοὺς κοκκίνιζε ἕνα δέρμα ὑποταγμένο.
Κάποτε τραγούδησαν, μὲ χαμηλωμένα μάτια
ὅταν περάσαμε τὸ ἐρημόνησο μὲ τὶς ἀραποσυκιὲς
κατὰ τὴ δύση, πέρα ἀπὸ τὸν κάβο τῶν σκύλων
ποὺ γαβγίζουν.
Εἰ μέλλει γνώσεσθαι αὐτήν, ἔλεγαν
εἰς ψυχὴν βλεπτέον, ἔλεγαν
καὶ τὰ κουπιὰ χτυποῦσαν τὸ χρυσάφι τοῦ πελάγου
μέσα στὸ ἡλιόγερμα.
Περάσαμε κάβους πολλοὺς πολλὰ νησιὰ τὴ θάλασσα
ποὺ φέρνει τὴν ἄλλη θάλασσα, γλάρους καὶ φώκιες.
Δυστυχισμένες γυναῖκες κάποτε μὲ ὀλολυγμοὺς
κλαίγανε τὰ χαμένα τους παιδιὰ
κι ἄλλες ἀγριεμένες γύρευαν τὸ Μεγαλέξαντρο
καὶ δόξες βυθισμένες στὰ βάθη τῆς Ἀσίας.

Ἀράξαμε σ᾿ ἀκρογιαλιὲς γεμάτες ἀρώματα νυχτερινὰ
μὲ κελαηδίσματα πουλιῶν, νερὰ ποὺ ἀφήνανε στὰ χέρια
τὴ μνήμη μιᾶς μεγάλης εὐτυχίας.
Μὰ δὲν τελειῶναν τὰ ταξίδια.
Οἱ ψυχές τους ἔγιναν ἕνα με τὰ κουπιὰ καὶ τοὺς σκαρμοὺς
μὲ τὸ σοβαρὸ πρόσωπο τῆς πλώρης
μὲ τ᾿ αὐλάκι τοῦ τιμονιοῦ
μὲ τὸ νερὸ ποὺ ἔσπαζε τὴ μορφή τους.
Οἱ σύντροφοι τέλειωσαν μὲ τὴ σειρά,
μὲ χαμηλωμένα μάτια. Τὰ κουπιά τους
δείχνουν τὸ μέρος ποὺ κοιμοῦνται στ᾿ ἀκρογιάλι.

Κανεὶς δὲν τοὺς θυμᾶται. Δικαιοσύνη.

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Source of the quotation

Mythistorema 4. - Argonauts (English)

And a soul
if it is to know itself
must look
into its own soul:
the stranger and enemy, we’ve seen him in the mirror.

They were good, the companions, they didn’t complain
about the work or the thirst or the frost,
they had the bearing of trees and waves
that accept the wind and the rain
accept the night and the sun
without changing in the midst of change.
They were fine, whole days
they sweated at the oars with lowered eyes
breathing in rhythm
and their blood reddened a submissive skin.
Sometimes they sang, with lowered eyes
as we were passing the deserted island with the Barbary figs
to the west, beyond the cape of the dogs
that bark.
If it is to know itself, they said
it must look into its own soul, they said
and the oar’s struck the sea’s gold
in the sunset.
We went past many capes many islands the sea
leading to another sea, gulls and seals.
Sometimes disconsolate women wept
lamenting their lost children
and others frantic sought Alexander the Great
and glories buried in the depths of Asia.

We moored on shores full of night-scenes,
the birds singing, with waters that left on the hands
the memory of a great happiness.
But the voyages did not end.
Their souls became one with the oars and the oarlocks
with the solemn face of the prow
with the rudder’s wake
with the water that shattered their image.
The companions died one by one,
with lowered eyes. Their oars
mark the place where they sleep on the shore.

No one remembers them. Justice.

Uploaded byP. T.
Source of the quotation