The Virgin Mary with the fish

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The Virgin Mary with the fish

Better even than the soil we give to the friends of water lilies, the getaway signal was spurned. Lying down she feeds her donkeys and the lean ravens without abiding in the injustice of fierce appeasement. That’s why she will still bloom, that’s why she will cry out, that’s why the supine and spineless men and all the secret ravines will be demolished and she will remain a lustrous and likeable crucible thriving in the colours of matter. The oath of foreigners and all bondholders means nothing. And they too will be received as long as they thrash the trinkets, as long as they haul all their weight, as long as they give seeds to the little girls, as long as they are hung properly in their longing, as long as there is aroused in their mouth the glory of their torrent. Here the pleasant and gorgeous youngsters await with the blessing of their extended existence and the road will not appear except to them and
_____to those pampered crocodiles of the entire region.

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.

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