4. Song of the Sirens
I’m leaving secretly,
wounded by a trick.
Like the children that the wind
blows a song to now, a song that seems
and on a sea that takes me far away.
When the ocean starts singing
there’s so much music to bear,
a thousand voices so you don’t know
how to choose and there’s no mast
to be tied to
and no rope.
I’ll soar on my wings
which I’ll spread
over the strange islands of paradise.
Untie your hair so I can see you, know you.
Untie your hair so I can see you in the dark.
Untie your hair so I can see you, know you
in the blind alleys of the world
in the endless desert of the world.
Untie your hair so I can come and speak to you.
Like Circe the witch, like the cursed night,
like a bat that sucks my blood
you take whatever truth I might have
to wrap in lies and sell.
The mirror of your soul you can’t bear
and so you try to look in my eyes.
I am the alibi for what you want to wear,
an innocent mask to hide your guilt.
In the beginning I believed you loved me
but you only love your emptiness.
Go to what you’ve served and let me be.
Be off with you -- you owe me nothing.
13. Penelope’s Song
I sat alone again tonight in the dark
and I strained to hear the words they made up
through the years,
a sound that remains as music
In the songs that we love
each night we suffer,
in the songs that carry us
to everything that we don’t forget
like boats traveling
to our own celebrations.
I heard my story in the lyrics
and I remembered people in other times
in other places.
An “Ah!” that kills us
an “Ah!” that rescues us
the truth of our love
the tales of life
the moons of love
and the darkness of passion.
The hardness of Hades
and your sweetest caress
in the songs that are stars
in the songs that are knives.
Biographical Note by Kostas Kartelias
Because I was initiated into Surrealism by Odysseas Elytis, I will begin my biographical note with the phrase “I was born a Leftist.” I don’t know what to tell you about the meaning of this, but I know that it is meaningful to me.
Growing up, I loved Greece at the highest level and I lived its tragedy like all Greeks. Together with Mikis Theodorakis I wrote The Odyssey whatever way I could and I still remember my father crying as he and two friends searched for a glass of wine to celebrate a small inheritance. I don’t even know who he’d inherited it from (in any case my grandfather didn’t agree when he joined the Resistance). I loved girls, I had children, I undertook some business ventures, the police caught me, I was helped by some people and I helped others. I counted myself a friend of Yorgos Heimonas.
Finally, I cry when I hear the sound of some priest, or imam, or someone in love (what difference does it make in the end?) repeating “there is truth, there is truth, there are existences.”