The King of Asini



[tab title=”English”]

Ασίνην τε…ILIAD

We looked all around the cιtadel for the whole morning
starting from the shaded side there where the sea
green and without reflection, breast of the slaughtered
welcomed us like time without any chasm in it.
The veins of the rock descended from high up
twisted vines, naked, multi-branched turning alive
at the touch of water, as the eye following them
struggled to escape the tedious rocking
of sea growing slowly-slowly weaker.

On the sunny side a long deserted beach
and the light rubbing diamonds on the great walls.
Not any living being, the wild doves gone
and the king of Asini, whom we’ve looked for
the last two years
unknown, forgotten by all and also by Homer
only one word in Iliad and even that uncertain
thrown here like a burial golden mask.
You touched it, do you remember its sound? Hollow
in the light like the dry jar in the dug soil;
and the same sound in the sea made by our oars.
The king of Asini emptiness under the mask
everywhere with us, everywhere with us, under one name:
‘Aσίνην τε…Ασίνην τε…’
and his children statues
and his desires fluttering of birds and the wind
among interstices of his thoughts and his ships
moored in an invisible post
under the mask a void.

Behind the big eyes, the contoured lips, the curls
glyphs on the gold cover of our existence
a dark point traveling like a fish
in the dawn serenity of pelagos and you see it:
a void everywhere with us.
And the bird that flew away the last winter
with a broken wing
relic of life,
and the young woman who left to play
with the dog-teeth of summer
and the soul that reached the underworld shrieking
and the landscape like a large plane tree leaf swept by
the sun’s torrent
with the ancient temples and contemporary sorrow.

And the lingering poet, looks at the stones and
do they really exist
between these erased lines, the edges, the hollows
the contours
do they really exist
here where the rain’s passing meets with the wind
and ravage
they do exist, the movement of life, the shape of tenderness
of those who faded out so strangely in our lives
of those who remained as shadows of waves and thoughts
in the endlessness of pelagos
or perhaps no, nothing remains but the weight
the nostalgia of the weight of an alive existence
there where we remain unsubstantial bending
like branches of the terrible willow tree piled in
the continued despair
while the yellow current slowly carries down rushes
uprooted in the mud
image of a form turned into stone by the sentence
of an everlasting bitterness.
The poet a void.

The sun carrying a shield rose fighting
and from depths of the cave a startled bat
pierced the light like an arrow pierces a shield:
‘Ασίνην τε Ασίνην τε…’ As though it was her
the king of Asini
who we have so carefully searched for on this
sometimes touching with our fingers his touch
on the stones.

Asini, summer ’38—Athens Jan ‘40

Geoprge Seferis
Translation Manolis Aligizakis


[tab title=”Ελληνικά”]

Ασίνην τε…

Κοιτάξαμε όλο τό πρωί γύρω-γύρω τό κάστρο
αρχίζοντας από τό μέρος τού ίσκιου εκεί πού η θάλασσα
πράσινη καί χωρίς αναλαμπή, τό στήθος σκοτωμένου
μάς δέχτηκε όπως ο καιρός χωρίς κανένα χάσμα.
Οι φλέβες τού βράχου κατέβαιναν από ψηλά
στριμμένα κλήματα γυμνά πολύκλωνα ζωντανεύοντας
στ’ άγγιγμα τού νερού, καθώς τό μάτι ακολουθώντας τις
πάλευε νά ξεφύγει τό κουραστικό λίκνισμα
χάνοντας δύναμη ολοένα.

Από τό μέρος τού ήλιου ένας μακρύς γιαλός ολάνοιχτος
ααί τό φώς τρίβοντας διαμαντικά στά μεγάλα τείχη.
Κανένα πλάσμα ζωντανό τ’ αγριοπερίστερα φευγάτα
κι ο βασιλιάς τής Ασίνης πού τόν γυρεύαμε δυό χρόνια
άγνωστος λησμονημένος απ’ όλους κι από τόν όμηρο
μόνο μιά λέξη στήν ιλιάδα κι εκείνη αβέβαιη
ριγμένη εδώ σάν τήν εντάφια χρυσή προσωπίδα.
Τήν άγγιξες, θυμάσαι τόν ήχο της; κούφιο μέσα στό φώς
σάν τό στεγνό πιθάρι στό σκαμμένο χώμα,
κι ο ίδιος ήχος μές στή θάλασσα μέ τά κουπιά μας.
Ο βασιλιάς τής Ασίνης ένα κενό κάτω απ’ τήν προσωπίδα
παντού μαζί μας, κάτω από ένα όνομα¨
‘Ασίνην τε…Ασίνην τε…’
καί τά παιδιά του αγάλματα
κι οι πόθοι του φτερουγίσματα πουλιών κι ο αγέρας
στά διαστήματα τών στοχασμών καί τά καράβια του
αραγμένα σ’ άφαντο λιμάνι,
κάτω απ’ τήν προσωπίδα ένα κενό.
Πίσω από τά μεγάλα μάτια τά καμπύλα χείλια τούς
ανάγλυφα στό μαλαματένιο σκέπασμα τής ύπαρξής μας
ένα σημείο σκοτεινό πού ταξιδεύει σάν τό ψάρι
μέσα στήν αυγινή γαλήνη τού πελάγου καί τό βλέπεις-
ένα κενό παντού μαζί μας.
Καί τό πολυί πού πέταξε τόν άλλο χειμώνα
μέ σπασμένη τή φτερούγα
σκήνωμα ζωής,
κι η γυναίκα πού έφυγε νά παίξει
μέ τά σκυλόδοντα τού καλακαιριού
κι η ψυχή πού γύρεψε τσιρίζοντας τόν κάτω κόσμο
κι ο τόπος σάν τό μεγάλο πλατανόφυλλο πού παρασέρνει
ο χείμαρος τού ήλιου
μέ τ’ αρχαία μνημεία καί τή σύγχρονη θλίψη.

Κι ο ποιητής αργοπορεί κοιτάζοντας τίς πέτρες κι ανα-
υπάρχουν άραγε
ανάμεσα στίς χαλασμένες τούτες γραμμές τίς ακμές τίς
αιχμές τά κοίλα καί τίς καμπύλες
υπάρχουν άραγε
εδώ πού συναντιέται τό πέταγμα τής βροχής τού αγέρα
καί τής φθοράς
υπάρχουν, η κίνηση τού προσώπου τόσ χήμα τής στοργής
εκείνων πού λιγόστεψαν τόσο παράξενα μές στή ζωή μας
αυτών πού απόμειναν σκιές κυμάτων καί στοχασμοί με
τήν απεραντοσύνη τού πελάγου
ή μλήπως όχι δέν απομένει τίποτε παρά μόνο τό βάρος
η νοσταλγία τού βάρους μιάς ύπαρξης ζωντανής
εκεί πού μένουμε τώρα ανυπόστατοι λυγίζοντας
σάν τάκλωνάρια τής φριχτής ιτιάς σωριασμένα μέσα στή
διάρκεια τής απελπισίας
ενώ τό ρέμα κίτρινο κατεβάζει αργά βούρλα ξεριζωμένα
μές στό βούρκο
εικόνα μορφής πού μαρμάρωσε μέ τήν απόφαση μιάς
πίκρας παντοτινής.
Ο ποιητής ένα κενό.

Ασπιδοφόρος ο ήλιος ανέβαινε πολεμώντας
κι από τό βάθος τής σπηλιάς μιά νυχτερίδα τρομαγμένη
χτύπησε πάνω στό φώς σάν τή σαϊτα πάνω στό σκουτάρι.
‘Ασίνην τε Ασίνην τε…’. Νά ‘ταν αυτή ο βασιλιάς τής
πού τόν γυρεύουμε τόσο προσεχτικά σέ τούτη τήν
γγίζοντας κάποτε μέ τά δάχτυλά μας τήν αφή του
πάνω στίς πέτρες.

Ασίνη, καλοκαίρι `38-Αθήνα, Γεν. `40

Γιώργος Σεφέρης



Aligizakis Manolis

By Aligizakis Manolis

Manolis (Emmanuel Aligizakis) is a Greek-Canadian poet and author. He was recently appointed an honorary instructor and fellow of the International Arts Academy, and awarded a Master’s for the Arts in Literature. He is recognized for his ability to convey images and thoughts in a rich and evocative way that tugs at something deep within the reader. Born in the village of Kolibari on the island of Crete in 1947, he moved with his family at a young age to Thessaloniki and then to Athens, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Sciences from the Panteion University of Athens. After graduation, he served in the armed forces for two years and emigrated to Vancouver in 1973, where he worked as an iron worker, train labourer, taxi driver, and stock broker, and studied English Literature at Simon Fraser University. He has written three novels and numerous collections of poetry, which are steadily being released as published works. His articles, poems and short stories in both Greek and English have appeared in various magazines and newspapers in Canada, United States, Sweden, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Australia, and Greece. He now lives in White Rock, where he spends his time writing, gardening, traveling, and heading Libros Libertad, an unorthodox and independent publishing company which he founded in 2006 with the mission of publishing literary books.

Distinguished Awards

  • 1st International Poetry Prize for his translation of “George Seferis-Collected Poems”, 2013
  • Master of the Arts in Literature, International Arts Academy, 2013
  • 1st Prize for poetry, 7th Volos poetry Competition, 2012
  • Honorary instructor and fellow, International Arts Academy, 2012
  • 2nd Prize for short story, Interartia festival, 2012
  • 2nd Prize for Poetry, Interartia Festival, 2012
  • 2nd Prize for poetry, Interartia Festival, 2011
  • 3rd prize for short stories, Interartia Festival, 2011


Books by Manolis

Ubermensch/Υπεράνθρωπος, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2013

Mythography, paintings and poetry, Libros Libertad, 2012

Nostos and Algos, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2012

Vortex, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2011

The Circle, novel, Libros Libertad, 2011

Vernal Equinox, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2011

Opera Bufa, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2010

Vespers, poetry by Manolis paintings by Ken Kirkby, Libros Libertad, 2010

Triptych, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2010

Nuances, poetry, Ekstasis Editions, 2009

Rendition, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2009

Impulses, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2009

Troglodytes, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2008

Petros Spathis, novel, Libros Libertad, 2008

El Greco, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2007

Path of Thorns, poetry, Libros Libertad, 2006

Footprints in Sandstone, poetry, Authorhouse, Bloomington, Indiana, 2006

The Orphans - an Anthology, poetry, Authorhouse, Bloomington, Indiana, 2005



Translations by Manolis

Yannis Ritsos-Selected Poems, Ekstasis Editions, 2013

Cloe and Alexandra-Selected Poems, Libros Libertad, 2013

George Seferis-Collected Poems, Libros Libertad, 2012

Yannis Ritsos-Poems, Libros Libertad, 2010

Constantine P. Cafavy - Poems, Libros Libertad, 2008

Cavafy-Selected Poems, Ekstasis Editions, 2011



Books in other languages

Nostos si Algos, (Romanian) poetry, DELLART, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2013

Tolmires Anatasis, (Greek) poetry, GAVRIILIDIS EDITIONS, Athens, Greece, 2013

Filloroes, (Greek ) poetry, ENEKEN PUBLICATIONS, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2013

Earini Isimeria, (Greek) poetry, ENEKEN PUBLICATIONS, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011

Stratis o Roukounas, (Greek) novel, MAVRIDIS EDITIONS, Athens, Greece, 1981



Canadian Fiction Magazine—Victoria, BC

Pacific Rim Review of Books—Victoria, BC

Canadian Poetry Review—Victoria, BC

Monday Poem, Leaf Press-Lantzville, BC

The Broadkill Review, Milton, Delaware

Ekeken, Thessaloniki, Greece

Envolimon, Beotia, Greece

Annual Literary Review, Athens, Greece

Stigmes, Crete, Greece

Apodimi Krites, Crete, Greece

Patris, Crete, Greece

Nyxta-Mera, Chania, Greece

Wallflowers, Thessaloniki, Greece

Diasporic Literature Spot, Melbourne, Australia

Black Sheep Dances, California, USA

Diasporic Literature Magazine, Melbourne, Australia

Spotlight on the Arts, Surrey, BC

Barnwood, International Poetry Magazine, Seattle, USA

Unrorean, University of Maine, Farmington, Maine, USA

Vakhikon, Athens, Greece

Paremvasi, Kozani, Greece

Szoros Ko, Bratislava, Slovakia

Mediterranean Poetry, Sweden

Apostaktirio, Athens, Greece

Life and Art, Athens, Greece

Logos and Images, Athens, Greece

Contemporary Writers and Thinkers, Athens, Greece

Palinodiae, Athens, Greece

Royal City Poet’s Anthology, 2013, New Westminster, BC, Canada

To parathyro, Paris, France


  1. Really good translation Manolis, well done…
    You have composed another great piece of literature…

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