With Both Light And Death (excerpt)

What do you want what do you seek
where is the meaning that fell from your hands
The music you alone hear and the naked
Feet which shift earth like a dancer’s
While the comet of her hair tosses and a spark
Falls before you on the carpet
Where you watch the truth deceive you. 

Where are you going what sorrow what burning
Dress is this that detaches your flesh what
Transformed ancient spring to make you give oracles
Thus: leaf by leaf and pebble by pebble

Youth kneeling in the transparent deep
The more I sleep and dream the more I see you rise
With a basket of green shells and seaweed
Biting as if a coin the same sea that
Gave you the very shining the very light the meaning you seek. 
—Odysseus Elytis, from “With Both Light And Death.” The American Poetry Review, Vol. 16, No. 2 (1987). Translated from Greek by Jeffrey Carson.

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