An angel in the steam engine

Share

An angel in the steam engine

When with the weight of the wind which sweeps away the brooms between the mothers’ legs the shooting star trumpeted the last commandments of the god-men, the phoneme proudly stood up and with the suppleness of complete automatic subtlety carried felicity away towards the waters of an enormous tide. It then happened that the blowholes sneezed and all the whales turned over their bellies and sank the bygone ships, along with crew and cargo – for the rebirth of felicity, for the attainment of the end, for peace, for disgrace, for the resplendence of truth, for the dominance of roses and the magical spider in a joyous year, for the century of great slip-ups
_____of waves breaking on stationary ships

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.