The song of ordinary life


by Nicos Nicolaides
Cypriot of the Diaspora
Translated by Margaret Deyes

Muse of poetry! Grant me to shape beautifully this song
about the pot in which people cook their beans over the fire
about the shallow dish of salad
made of sweet peppers mixed with whatever else
the fecundity of the orchard affords. And the season of the year…

The bowls with wooden spoons
the plate, full of ripe olives,
the wheaten bread and the bottle of wine,
all arranged in orderly fashion on the clean tablecloth.

The ‘good evening’ on the lips of the husbandman coming in
with his tools in his hand, and a watermelon under his arm…

The ‘welcome home’ from the woman of the house,
spoken softly so as not to wake the demanding infant
which has fallen asleep pressed against her breast.

Muse of poetry! Grant me to shape beautifully this song.

© Nicos Nicolaides
“Nicos Nicolaides The Cypriot”,
p. 115
Diaspora Books, London 1998

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Nicolaides Nicos

By Nicolaides Nicos

Nicos Nicolaides was born the son of poor parents in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1884. He was only six when his parents died. In 1907 Nicolaides left Cyprus for Athens where he studied in the Athens Polytechnic Department of Fine Arts. He left Athens in 1908 for Alexandria (Egypt) and then Cairo.

He published 11 books of poetry and prose including:

  • To Galazio Louloudi, "The Blue flower", Lyric drama, Nicosia 1919
  • Anthropines kai Anthines Zoes, "Lives of Men and Flowers", Book 1, Prose, Limassol 1920.
  • Diegemata A', "Short Stories Book A", Limassol, 1921.
  • To Stravoxylo, "The Peevish Fellow", Romance, Sysyphus, Athens 1980.
  • O Skelethras Diegemata B', "The Skeleton Short Stories Book B", Cyprus and Alexandria 1924
  • I Kale Syntrophissa: Diegemata C. "The Kind Female Companion: Short Stories Book C", Cyprus and Alexandria 1929.
  • Anthropines Kai Anthines Zoes, "Lives of Men and Flowers", Book 2, Cairo 1938.
  • O Chrysos Mythos, "The Golden Myth", Cyprus and Cairo, 1938.
  • Per' Apo to Kalo kai to Kako, "Beyond Good and Evil", Cyprus and Cairo 1940.
  • Ta tria Karfia, "The Three Nails", Novel, Cyprus and Cairo 1948.
  • To Biblio tou Monachou, "The Book of the Monk", Anthology, Nicosia 1946, reprinted 1951, Published by Kedros, Athens 1987.