Yannis Ritsos ‘Monovasia’
Rock. Nothing else. The wild fig tree and the ironstone.
An armed sea. No room at all for genuflection. Outside the Elkomenos Church gate a crimson in the black. The old women with their cauldrons bleaching the longest woven cloth in history suspend on rings from the forty-four Byzantine arcades. The sun a merciless friend with his lance on the walls opposite and death disinherited within this vast illumination where the dead interrupt their sleep now and then with cannon fire and rusty lampposts, going up and down on step after step carved in the rock. They strike their tinder boxes against the edge of their palms until the sparks fly. I – he said – will climb higher, above the soft continuation, stepping on the dome of the large submarine church with its lit candelabra. I with the blue bone, the red wing and the pure white teeth.