Two Poems

Giorgos Moleskis, born in 1946 in Cyprus, has a degree in Russian Language and Literature and a PhD in philology from the Lomonosov University in Moscow. He writes poems, short stories, essays and studies on literature, and translates poetry,  two of his volumes have been awarded State Prizes for poetry. He had been the president of the Nicosia Cultural Society, and is the vice-president of the Union of Cyprus Writers

Memories from the Paternal Home

From now on so many things have changed,
the optical signs are transposed,
the perspectives have been modified.
Does the house exist or not exist,
has it withstood the rains of last winter or has it yielded?

It stirs like a curtain in memory and it refracts
 that entire series of events:
when and who went in and left,
when and in what order where the children born,
when Death passed…

What always remains and torments me the most
is the difficulty with which they all and everyone grew up.
in the winter the air blew from the holes in the doors
and the windows,
the rain crept in, the thunder and lightning from the holes.
We closed them, sometimes with rags and sometimes with paper.
The cold also crept in and froze our bones
continuing into our sleep.

Sometimes on such evenings the cries and screams
circulated in the house like phantoms.
Our hate exchanged places with pity:
mother-father, father-mother… Who is culpable?
With God's persistent denial, his absence.

In the summers the land would dry up and would crack like our body.
Everything burnt: the stones under the naked feet,
the trees, the earth, the water.
Whatever insisted on growing dragged slowly
like a snake in a ploughed field.
Time itself dragged slowly
and did not intend to hurry
so we could grow up,
for our feet and hands to grow strong,
our soul to grow strong
for us to embark on the road of our dreams.


Translated from the Greek by Lisa Sokrates

The Water of Memory

Unfulfilled our plans for Sunday excursions.
We leave always for the south
return to a Nicosia in inertia
that gazes at Pentadaktylos
in the violet of the twilight hour...

And as I look at you and you at me,
I wander amidst your peaks
in my own fairy tale.
I cross to the opposite bank and sink
in other times,
in days when the sea blossomed with smiles,
in other tragedies,
in other outbursts...

And to the children that always ask about this wall
I tell a story
about the good, about the bad
and as always in fairy tales,
good triumphs over all,
the hero enters the palace,
fetches at the last minute
the water of immortality and the water of memory.


Translated from the Greek by Irena Ioannides

Lisa Socrates teaches in the MA Film Studies programme of the Centre for Intercultural Studies at University College London. She is the translator of George Moleski: Selected Poems (Nicosia, 1991).

Irena Joannides is a producer of independent films, currently developing and directing television programming for Canadian television. Her short stories and studies have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies.