Alone, from the depths of the drawer…

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Alone, from the depths of the drawer…

…the second mistral took off. The motions of the slender hairbrush against my self were successfully negotiated. A tropical warmth, but one transformed before martyrs who had been set on fire, was definitively registered in the proceedings of the giant warriors, instead of the worthless honour of an esteemed odalisque. On her legs anklets glowed, on her face tears, on her breast three droplets. A more beautiful sight the wandering Jew had never before encountered, not even the model of the corporate state of the past, because the threads which would tie her legs did not exist and the nails had not been premeditated. The system had not yet crystallized. It merely gave greater liberty to the liberated and relieved the peddler’s pain from yesterday’s orgies.

Poems by Andreas Embeirikos
Translated by N.N. Trakakis

The poems translated here are by the renowned modern Greek writer Andreas Embeirikos (1901-1975), and they appear here in English translation for the first time.
These seven poems are taken from Embeirikos’ first, and highly surrealist, collection of poems, entitled ‘Blast Furnace’, published in 1935. The work is prefaced by a passage from André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto: “…the surrealist voice, the one that continues to preach at the approach of death and above storms…”. It is not difficult to see, from the selection that follows, why this collection was received with uncomprehending glares by a Greek readership that was, at the time, unaccustomed to this style of writing.
I am grateful to Agra Publications and to the Embeirikos estate for permission to translate and publish these poems.