One way out: draw on the same material
again and again until it sickens.
Has this not happened with Sikelianos?
You read him almost every night for five years
(that damned book published by Galaxy—
didn’t it throw all sorts of adolescent plans into the air?),
and now can’t stand the sight of his face on the flyleaf.
Every time someone asks the question
you respond awkwardly:
‘Yes, yet in volume five, “The Suicide of Atzesivano”…’
as if such predictable evasions can raise his spirit.
Angelos flies off, never to return,
taking with him those grandiose plans.
More to the right, please! He was always contre lumière.
They waited for it. For you to slip.
And in a silly way you slipped.
Now they spit in the well
you spent twenty years digging in order to draw clean water.
Appropriating? Converting? Not referencing properly
(out of a deep resentment for boorish fellow-travellers)? Does it matter?
‘I scarred you for life’ is what Hardy wrote in Jude.
The final separation scene brought you to tears.
Cry away, because there is no forgiveness for this.
Shakespeare, Celan, Brecht, and so many more,
but these are just excuses. We said it: ‘scarred for life’.
Out of the corner of your eye you spy a sparrow
perched on a quivering branch.
Whatever lives lives alone. Time to move on.
–Translated from the Greek by Evan Jones