Monday, September 11, 2006

Yannis Ritsos

The End of Dodona II

With the gods overthrown like that, nobody knew which way to
The sick stayed in bed with their eyes closed.
Their woolen socks rotted away in their shoes, along with two
flowers in a glass.
The cunning ones adjusted quickly. They put on their best clothes
circulated in the marketplace, discussed things, did business. They
the defense against the invader. They changed the names of streets
and temples: improvised substitutions. Zues and Dione
gave way to Jesus and the Virgin. Theodosius
added the finishing touches--what altars and sanctuaries, and
that huge tree
overwhelmed by votive offerings.
And still
a number of people(including the best) haven't yet come to their
senses. They're waiting once again
for better gods and people. They fume, protest,
dream, hope. We, the few(who, to some degree anyway, use their
we've given up such luxuries, given up thinking itself.
We plow our small plot of land, look at clouds once in a
calm now, almost secure. One day we found, thrown into a ditch,
that statuette that used to strink metal tools with its wand
and give out prophetic sounds. For a moment that moved us. We
we'd set it aside for safekeeping somewhere. But what's the point?
Are we supposed to cling to relics these days?
And what if they dug it up on us? We left it there. Covered it with
two handfuls of dirt.
The dog was in a hurry. It smelled the trees. Large raindrops were
already falling.

--Yannis Ritsos