I thought that if I could include it all,
if I could find the way to speak exhaustively of such matters—
I would be once and for all done with them
and would have the chance to finally give myself
to something else, less errant;
then again I thought
it would be preferable, maybe,
(and more true to my real intentions)
to follow the exactly reverse tactic
and remove almost everything from the narrative.
I thus began to chop, write off,
(I have a talent for that)
slowly at first,
anything I considered redundant—
I confess that everything seemed to be so
as I was moving along—
and pretty soon I was left
with some wrenched words and phrases
(In the zoo, in Rome, I had my picture taken riding the llama
divorce, court cases,
when I suddenly saw her in the arms of this
that naturally meant nothing to you
or to anyone else for that matter.
Yet, they meant something to me;
I had written them
and for some reason—
don’t ask me what—
I had kept them;
so they were real.
Meanwhile the truth moved on of course
and vanished behind the mountains,
but left something in its wake,
call it if you may ‘nostalgia for the cypresses’
or the ‘Janus-faced spring’
it doesn’t matter
or rather it does, but only for the one who now
drives down the steep dirt track to your house
(‘a dog must have leapt in front of him’)
loses control of the wheel
and crashes into the rock.
It was all a nightmare, naturally.
But life is all about that, right?
Like it or not
we’ve learnt our lesson well;
we’ve reached the age of knowledge (fear),
we cannot plead ignorance
(we’ve already lost a dozen friends or so)
so let each one close his notebook
and for one day allow
the beasts of his garden to run freely
in the verdant, paper meadows of his memory.
It’s a national holiday today
and the guards have the day off.
– Translated from the Greek by Mina Karavanta