Odysseus Elytis


Excerpt from The Axion Esti

From The Gloria

/- – -/

PRAISED BE Myrto standing

on the stone parapet facing the sea

like a beautiful eight or a clay pitcher

holding a straw hat in her hand

The white and porous middle of day

the down of sleep lightly ascending

the faded gold inside the arcades

and the red horse breaking free

Hera of the tree’s ancient trunk

the vast laurel grove, the light-devouring

a house like an anchor down in the depths

and Kyra-Penelope twisting her spindle

The straits for birds from the opposite shore

a citron from which the sky spilled out

the blue hearing half under the sea

the long-shadowed whispering of nymphs and maples

PRAISED BE, on the remembrance day

of the holy martyrs Cyricus and Julitta,

a miracle burning threshing floors in the heavens

priests and birds chanting the Aye:

HAIL Girl Burning and hail Girl Verdant

Hail Girl Unrepenting, with the prow’s sword

Hail you who walk and the footprints vanish

Hail you who wake and the miracles are born

Hail O Wild One of the depths’ paradise

Hail O Holy One of the islands’ wilderness

Hail Mother of Dreams, Girl of the Open Seas

Hail O Anchor-bearer, Girl of the Five Stars

Hail you of the flowing hair, gilding the wind

Hail you of the lovely voice, tamer of demons

Hail you who ordain the Monthly Ritual of the Gardens

Hail you who fasten the Serpent’s belt of stars

Hail O Girl of the just and modest sword

Hail O Girl prophetic and daedalic


Excerpt from The Axion Esti, by Odysseus Elytis, translated by Edmund Keeley and George Savidis, © 1974.
Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

Excerpt selected by the Nobel Library of the Swedish Academy.

To cite this section
MLA style: Odysseus Elytis – Poetry. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2021. Fri. 5 Mar 2021. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/literature/1979/elytis/poetry/>

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