Nikos Karouzous (b. Nafplio 1926 – d. Athens 1990)

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ROMANTIC EPILOGUE

Don’t read me if you haven’t
attended the funerals of strangers
or at least memorial services.
If you haven’t
divined the strength
that makes love
the rival of death.
If you haven’t flown a kite on Clean Monday
without monkeying with it.
pulling on the string continually.
If you don’t know if Nostradamus ever
sniffed flowers.
If you haven’t been at least once
to the Deposition from the Cross.
If you don’t know any past perfect.
If you don’t love animals
and, especially, squirrels.
If you don’t hear thunder with pleasure,
wherever you are.
If you don’t know that the handsome Modigliani
drunk at three in the morning,
pounded furiously on a friend’s door
looking for Villon’s poems
and began to read for hours out loud
disturbing the Universe.
If you call nature our mother and not our aunt.
If you don’t joyously drink the innocent water.
If you don’t understand the Flowering Era
is the one you’re living in.
BEWARE
WET PAINT.
Don’t read me
if
you are
right.
Don’t read me if
you haven’t quarrelled with the body . . .
Time I was going,
I have no more breath.
POEM ON A TAPE RECORDER
Joy of night, oh sonorous lights,
marvelous evening
the colored noise of the city
divided up my loneliness, sometimes yellow,
orange, blue, and now red
dyeing my gait pure green.
Love had white marks.
Stop. Rewind.
The turmoil bore the white marks of the world.
The clouds invisible.
No.
The angel radiates like marble
in the deserts of the moon, in the honeysuckle white
death is duped and the night
is amused with shooting stars.
No, no.
Time approaches visions
on tiptoe.
Greed!
I should have further submerged
the grief within my soul.
No.
The cricket ornaments expanses.
The night comes down the stairway of darkness
sits on the passion of Mary.
All alone the busts breathe in the gardens.
Stop. Everything is erased.
I want to escape from words.
I’m sick of it.
Better it would be to listen to what on the next balcony
two perennial old ladies are saying;
sitting there by the hour.
[translation Phillip Ramp]
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