Two Poems

Elli Peonidou was born in Vasa, Cyprus. She has published more than 30 volumes of poetry, prose, books for children and young people, some of which have appeared in translation in Germany, France, Bulgaria, Portugal, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia. She also translates foreign poets into Greek. She is the recipient of many awards, including the First State Prize.

In Autumn They Descend

In autumn the poets descend
to the sea shore
when all else have departed
complete with luggage
Sand strewn love

A little after autumn.
You will recognize them without fail.
Unsteady foot, downward look
occasional ecstasy
before the marvel of the shell

When strange footprints
will have already vanished with the liquid
kissing of the moon
the poets may emerge
with a wreath of light
on the surface of the water

Don’t bother the poets
A rare species of Careta-Careta
And at risk of extinction

A reasonable distance does no harm

Djelal of Ayios Theodoros

Respected name in Oklahoma
Parchments, titles, books
With stepmother tongues he strives to fertilize
And delude the roots

In the brass pot the coffee strong and sweet
From the steam the genie surges with
Satanic laughs, swallowing city
Houses, gardens, swimming pools

At midnight the moon becomes a lute
Barefoot goddesses in the clouds dance karjilama
Satyrs cunningly gesture from the mountains
Shepherds with mesmerizing flutes

On a magic carpet, he flies off
Nothing can hold him back, he lets out
A huge cry of twenty years and more
And from the basket flings oranges to water
Turning each one into a juicy orange island
With a dark boy on top

Translated by Stephanos Stephanides

Stephanos Stephanides was born in Cyprus. He left the island as a child and lived in several countries for more than thirty years before returning to Cyprus in 1992. As well as English, he is also fluent in Greek, Spanish, and Portuguese. Selections of his poetry have been published in about ten languages, and he has received prizes and awards. He is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cyprus.