Poem by Odysseas Elytis

dressed up as  “friends,”
    came countless times, my enemies,
trampling the primeval soil.
    And the soil never blended with their heel.
They brought
    The Wise One, the Founder, and the Geometer,
Bibles of letters and numbers,
    every kind of  Submission and Power,
to sway over the primeval light.
    And the light never blended with their roof.
Not even a bee was fooled into beginning the golden game,
    not even a Zephyr into swelling the white aprons.
On the peaks, in the valleys, in the ports
    they raised and founded
mighty towers and villas,
    floating timbers and other vessels;
and the Laws decreeing the pursuit of profit
    they applied to the primeval measure.
And the measure never blended with their thinking.
    Not even a footprint of a god left a man on their soul,
not even a fairy’s glance tried to rob them of their speech.
    They came
dressed up as “friends,”
    came countless times, my enemies,
bearing the primeval gifts.
    And their gifts were nothing else
but iron and fire only.
    To the open expecting fingers
only weapons and iron and fire.
    Only weapons and iron and fire.


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