In Translation: Two Poems by Yannis Ritsos

Translated from the Greek by Andrew Horton



Stone day
stone sun
stone silence

The horses on the mountain died
the trees have died in whitewash
you haven’t died.

The sound from the distant hoofs
the sound of the old gasping for breath
in the marbled noon

And the fear that perhaps you didn’t die
and the fear of water which will run on
the fear, the water, the breathing—life.



Here, in the chaotic bedroom
among the dusty books
and the old portraits
among the yes and no of so many shadows,
a column of unmoving light
here, in this place
where you undressed one night



First published in The Minnesota Review NRP 4, Spring 1973.


Andrew Horton is an award-winning screenwriter and author of fifteen books on film, screenwriting and culture. He is the Jeanne H. Smith Professor of Film and Video Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the author of Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay, The Films of Theo Angelopoulos and Laughing Out Loud: Writing the Comedy-Centered Screenplay. His film include Brad Pitt’s first feature film, The Dark Side of the Sun, and the award-winning Yugoslav film Something in Between, directed by Srdjan Karanovic. He has given screenwriting workshops around the world, including Norway, Germany, England, the Czech Republic, Greece, New Zealand, Switzerland and throughout the United States. 

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