Lawrence Durrell
Letter to Seferis the Greek

'Ego dormio sed cor meum vigilat'
No milestones marked the invaders,
But ragged harps like mountains here:
A text for Proserpine in tears: worlds
With no doors for heroes and no walls with ears:
Yet snow, the anniversary of death.

How did they get here? How enact
This clear severe repentance on a rock,
Where only death converts and the hills
Into a pastoral silence by a lake,
By the blue Fact of the sky forever?

'Enter the dark crystal if you dare
And gaze on Greece.' They came
Smiling, like long reflections of themselves
Upon a sky of fancy. The red shoes
Waited among the thickets and the springs,
In fields of unexploded asphodels,
Neither patient nor impatient, merely
Waited, the born hunter on his ground,
The magnificent and funny Greek.

We will never record it: the black
Choirs of water flowing on moss,
The black sun's kisses opening,
Upon their blindness, like two eyes
Enormous, open in bed against one's own.

Something sang in the firmament.
The past, my friend compelled you,
The charge of habit and love.
The olive in the blood awoke,
The stones of Athens in their pride
Will remember, regret and often bless.

Kisses in letter from home:
Crosses in the snow: now surely
Lover and loved exist again
By a strange communion of darkness.
Those who went in all innocence,
Whom the wheel disfigured: whom
Charity will not revisit or repair,
The innocent who fell like apples.

Consider how love betrays us:
In the conversation of the prophets
Who daily repaired the world
By profit and loss, with no text
On the unknown quantity
By whose possession all problems
Are only ink and air made words:
I mean friends everywhere who smile
And reach out their hands.

Anger inherits where love
Betrays: iron only can clean:
And praises only crucify the loved
In their matchless errand, death.
Remember the earth will roll
Down her old grooves and spring
Utter swallows again, utter swallows.

Others will inherit the sea-shell,
Murmuring to the foolish its omens,
Uncurving on the drum of the ear,
The vowels of an ocean beyond us,
The history, the inventions of the sea:
Upon all parallels of the salt wave,
To lovers lying like sculptures
In islands of smoke and marble,
Will enter the reflections of poets
By the green wave, the chemical water.

I have no fear for the land
Of the dark heads with aimed noses,
The hair of night and the voices
Which mimic a traditional laughter:
Nor for a new language where
A mole upon a dark throat
Of a girl is called 'an olive':
All these things are simply Greece.

Her blue boundaries are
Upon a curving sky of time,
In a dark menstruum of water:
The names of islands like doors
Open upon it: the rotting walls
Of the European myth are here
For us, the industrious singers,
In the service of this blue, this enormous blue.

Soon it will be spring. Out of
This huge magazine of flowers, the earth,
We will enchant the house with roses,
The girls with flowers in their teeth,
The olives full of charm: and all of it
Given: can one say that
Any response is enough for those

Who have a woman, an island and a tree?
I only know that this time
More than ever, we must bless
And pity the darling dead: the women
Winding up their hair into sea-shells,
The faces of meek men like dials,
The great overture of the dead playing,
Calling all lovers everywhere in all stations
Who lie on the circumference of ungiven kisses.

Exhausted rivers ending in the sand;
Windmills of the old world winding
And unwinding in musical valleys your arms.
The contemptible vessel of the body lies
Lightly in its muscles like a vine;
Covered the nerves: and like an oil expressed
From the black olive between rocks,
Memory lulls and bathes in its dear reflections.

Now the blue lantern of the night
Moves on the dark in its context of stars.
O my friend, history with all her compromises
Cannot disturb the circuit made by this,
Alone in the house, a single candle burning
Upon a table in the whole of Greece.

Your letter of the 4th was no surprise.
So Tonio had gone? He will have need of us.
The sails are going out over the old world.
Our happiness, here on a promontory,
Marked by a star, is small but perfect.
The calculations of the astronomers, the legends
The past believed in could not happen here.
Nothing remains but Joy, the infant Joy
(So quiet the mountain in its shield of snow,
So unconcerned the faces of the birds),
With the unsuspected world somewhere awake,
Born of this darkness, our imperfect sight,
The stirring seed of Nostradamus' rose.

@темы: 20, d, durrell, lawrence, english-british, helenike, s, seferis, giorgos