Odysseas Elytis – Marina of the rocks

Marina of the rocks
An English version by Simon Darragh, in imitation of the Greek original.

A taste of the storm on your lips — but you,
You wandered all day the harsh dream of stone and sea.
The eagle-bearing wind laid bare the hills;
Stripped your desire to the bone:
Your eyes, the chimera’s eyes,
Scoring memory with the spume of the sea.
There, in short September’s waning,
As you played in the red earth you looked down the long bean-rows
To where the other girls, your friends, leſt armfuls of rosemary.
—But you wandered
All night the harsh dream of stone and sea.
I told you to measure its bright days as you lay
In the naked water: to welcome the dawn of things
Or again to wander yellow plains
Clover-light on your breast, iambic heroine.

A taste of the storm on your lips
And a blood-red robe
Deep in the gold of summer,
The scent of hyacinth — but you wandered

Down to the pebbled shores
The cold salt seaweed
But, deeper, the hurt that bled.
Astonished, you opened your arms, spoke its name,
Gently rising through the clear deep
Where your own star shone.
Listen: words are the wisdom of the old
And time a passionate sculptor of men
And the sun stands above, wild thing of hope
And you, nearer, cling to a love
With the bitter taste of the storm on your lips.
It is not for you to consider, blue to the bone,
another summer
For the rivers to change their course
And take you back to their mother;
Not for you to kiss, again, other cherry-trees
Nor to ride the North-West Wind

High on the rocks, no yesterday, no tomorrow,
Perilously, on the rocks, combed by the storm,
You will leave at last your enigma.

Odysseas Elytis