A poetry night

Monday 21st of february, at 7:00, BalkanHotspot will hold a poetry night. The event will take place at the Kafodeio Greek Café (El. Venizelou 45, Thessaloniki) for the international mother tongue day. For the occasion, we will welcome on the stage six readers from different country for a reading of a poem from their homeland in their original language. Afterwards, the stage will be open to any brave people that wishes to share their favorite poem from where they come from. Also a map will be available for everyone to fill it with whatever they feel like writing/drawing.

Poetry night poster

Here are the english translations for the six poems we chose for the event.

Spiritual chant (1960)
by Emilio Oribe

Who created the foundation, the sacred word
of existence? The light of the evil or the good?
The beginning and the end of the simulation?
Who made me always look for the Who?

Once at night, She, by my side,
With dim voice, when the beautiful hours were dying,
both in front of a great golden circle,
she asked me: who made the stars?
Later, with time, another one by my side,
both trembling out of diverse love,
confusing the ideal and the created,
she asked me: who made the universe?
Towards dawn, another by my side,
from the balcony, after long hours
of love, she disturbed and me tired,
she asked me: who made the daybreaks?

Under the moon, in the tower of a summit,
some eyes, behind wet eyelashes,
sunk me in strong uncertainty
by asking: who made these mountains?
Another time, by the agitated and grave sea,
She or Another one, clouded my suspended love,
when asking with the fear of a bird:
who made the immense sea?
And another one, while we were looking at
the gardens, the worlds, the thresholds
of a city, came before me trembling:
my love: who made the mortals?

Someone who exhausted wisdom
and was in my love beauty, light and wonder,
since the idea in the song was poetry,
interrogated me: who made thought?
When dying of an autumn and getting separated
for a long time, still my ear is able to
listen to her, between tears, when going away:
my love: who made hope?
And the same ones, or others, in instants
when love was becoming torment,
or a great ecstasy it was, more than before,
they asked: who made suffering?

Where the trembling of that distant voice
Which when drinking with disconcerted mouth
the shadows of the eternal and the instant,
asked me: who made life possible?
And when and under what profound astonishment
of death, or in what abyss and of how
I heard, an in what limits of the world:
my love: who made Death possible?

Who created the Foundation, the sacred Word
of existence, the light of the evil or the good?
The beginning and the end of the simulation?
The splendour and the chant of the Who?

On love (1923)
by Gibran Khalil Gibran

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.


Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.” And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

An Oak Tree Greening By The Oceans
by Alexandr Puschkin

An oak tree greening by the ocean;
A golden chain about it wound:
Whereon a learned cat, in motion
Both day and night, will walk around;
On walking right, he sings a ditty;
On walking left, he tells a lay.

A magic place: there winds his way
The wood sprite, there’s a mermaid sitting
In branches, there on trails past knowing
Are tracks of beasts you never met;
On chicken feet a hut is set
With neither door nor window showing.

There wood and dale with wonders teem;
At dawn of day the breakers stream
Upon the bare and barren lea,
And thirty handsome armored heroes
File from the waters’ shining mirrors,
With them the Usher from the Sea.


There glimpse a prince, and in his passing
He makes the dreaded tsar his slave;
Aloft, before the people massing,
Across the wood, across the wave,
A warlock bears a warrior brave;
A grieving princess in a cell,
And faithful wolf that serves her well;

See Baba Yaga’s mortar glide
All of itself, with her astride.
There droops Kashchey, on treasure bent;
There’s Russian spirit… Russia’s scent!
And there I stayed, and drank of mead;
That oak tree greening by the shore
I sat beneath, and of his lore
The learned cat would chant and read.

The Noonday Witch (1988)
by Karel Jaromír Erben

By the bench there stood an infant,
Screaming, screaming, loud and wild;
‘Can’t you just be quiet an instant?
Hush, you nasty gipsy-child!

Now it’s noon, or just about,
Daddy’s coming home for dinner:
while I cook, the fire’s gone out—
all your fault, you little sinner!

Hush! Your cart’s here, your hussar—
look, your cockerel!—Go on, play!’
Crash, bang! Soldier, cock and cart
To the corner fly away.

Once again that fearful bellow—
‘May a hornet come and sting you!
Hush, you naughty little fellow,
Or the Noonday Witch I’ll bring you!

Come for him, you Noonday Witch, then!
Come and take this pest for me!’—
In the door into the kitchen,
Someone softly turns the key.

Little, brown-skinned, strange of feature,
On her head a kerchief pinned;
With a stick—crook-legged creature,
Voice that whistles like the wind!

‘Give that child here!’ ‘Lord, forgive
this sinner’s sins, my Saviour dear!’
It’s a wonder she still lives,
For see—the Noonday Witch is here!

Silent as a shadow wreathes,
The witch towards the table’s slipping:
Mother, fearful, scarcely breathes,
In her lap the child she’s gripping.

Twisting round, she looks behind her—
Poor, poor child—ah, what a fate!
Closer creeps the witch to find her,
Closer—now she’s there—too late!

Now for him her hand is grasping—
Tighter squeeze the mother’s arms:
‘For Christ’s precious torments!’ gasping,
She sinks senseless with alarm.

Listen—one, two, three and more:
The noonday bell is ringing clear;
The handle clicks, and as the door
Flies wide open, father’s here.

Child clasped to her breast, he found,
Lying in a faint, the mother;
He could hardly bring her round,
But the little one was—smothered

East Germans (2006)
by Gianni Micheloni

On clear evenings you will try to keep them East German tits.

Beautiful! that less beautiful you would see the goddesses of the Aegean lands
that Venus made pregnant.

Beautiful! that neither extinguishes them
the insane body that holds them
nor the insane entity that held them.

You will see them on clear evenings
wasted on Fregene
see people spending
for dinners and for drinking
for dinners, for Mercedes and parties,
for silks and pearls.

You will look for them and you will see them sad swiftly recede into the tents:
quick to be
awake by seven.

And while Fregene moans
for the terrible dinners,
you will see the Germans nice fresh,
the ex-DDR ex-tener,
keep the sails taut and perfect
for deserted destinations.

And you will row for the same goals
and for the same goals
you will lose semester and semester
and they less than a month.

And to make it less severe
the swift foreign goddesses
you will peel the apples and pears and peaches
and you will fish for pearls
and for the terrible storms
you will lose baskets, net
and black pearls and fish.

And you will try the least beautiful and the least pretentious of the German hags you thought you were reading
and you will get some good slaps
and the stinker.

Well, beautiful shits,
you will take less slap
if you try
neither German nor Greek
and the beauties of the East
you will look for them Czechs!

The Song Of The Drinkers (1924)
by Nazim Hikmet

This is a song:
the song of those
who drink the sun in earthen bowls! This is a tress:
a tress of flame!

it is twisting;
it is burning like a bloody crimson torch on the dark brows of
the heroes with bare copper feet!
I too saw those heroes,
I too braided that tress,
I too crossed with them
the bridge
going to the sun!
I too drank the sun in earthen bowls.
I too sang that song!
Our hearts took their speed from the earth we stretched ourselves
by tearing the mouths
of golden-maned lions!
We sprang:
we rode the lightning wind! The eagles
swooping
from the cliffs
flapped light-gilded wings.
Flame-wristed riders whipped
prancing horses! There is a raid on a raid to the sun!
We will conquer the sun
the conquest of the sun is near!
Those who cry in their houses
and carry their tears
like a heavy chain
around their necks
should not travel
with us!
Those who live on the crust of their hearts should not follow us!
Here:
millions of red hearts are burning
in the fire
that fell from the sun!
You too
take your heart out from your rib cage; hurl it
into the fire
that fell from the sun
throw your heart beside our hearts!
There is a raid on
a raid to the sun!
We will conquer the sun
the conquest of the sun is near!
We were born from earth, fire, water, iron! Our wives nurse our babies with the sun, our copper beards smell of the
earth!
Our joy is hot!
hot like blood,
hot like the “moment” that sizzles
in the dreams of young men
We hook our ladders to the stars stepping on the heads of our dead
we rise
toward the sun!
Those who died fighting;
they are buried in the sun.
We have no time for mourning.
There is a raid on
a raid to the sun!
We will conquer the sun
the conquest of the sun is near!
Red vineyards of blood-speckled grapes are smoky! Heavy brick chimneys
twisting,
belching!
The one at the head –
He who commands – yells!
This voice!
the force of this voice
this force
that blinds the wounded hungry wolves,
this force
makes them stop
in their tracks!
Order us to die
order!
We are drinking the sun in your voice!
We are getting high,
getting high!…
On the smoky curtain of blazing horizons
riders with sky-ripping lances are running! There is a raid on
a raid to the sun!
We will conquer the sun
the conquest of the sun is near! The earth is copper
the sky is copper.
Sing out the song of the sun drinkers, Sing out
Let us all sing out!

We sure hope to see you at the poetry night!

Post Author: Isciane Lallement

My name is Isciane and I'm a French soul. I came here so I could explore the world a little while I'm young and free, and maybe share a part of my life with those who surround me. I deeply love history, literature, combat sports, videogames and music, not a huge fan of broccoli or being photographed though. Actually I think I'm a sweet person, calm and discreet; I'm always open to talk, and share with anybody who is interested.

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