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.
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