The Hill


Translation from the Greek text
 by Manolis Aligizakis

Someone had a lot of dead people
He dug the ground he buried them himself
Stone by stone earth on earth
he built a hill
On top of the hill
he built his cabin facing the sun

After that he opened pathways
he planted trees
carefully geometrically thoughtfully
His eye was always smiling
His hand wasn’t trembling
The hill

There on Sunday afternoons mothers climb
pushing their baby carriages
the workers of the neighborhood in clean shirts
go there to sunbathe and breath some fresh air
There at twilight pairs in love saunter
and learn to read the stars
Under the trees a child plays harmonica
The pop vendor yells about his lemonade

On the hill they all know
that they are closer to the sky

But no one knows how the hill was built
no one knows how many sleep in the hills’ bowels

~Yannis Ritsos-Poems
Translation by Manolis Aligizakis
Vancouver, Canada