Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Poetry Reading in Kastelli 2006

Readings took place first at the Cultural Centre and then one day laterunderneaththetreeinKastelli and this as part of the Kids' Guernica exhibition in Kastelli, Crete 2006

Coordinated by Socrates Kabouropoulos
Katerina Anghelaki Rooke
Dostena Laverge
Hatto Fischer

April 22 / 23, 2006


Poetry Reading in Cultural Centre

The name of the Cultural Centre "Kifsti Manousaki"

Greetings of the poets by the mayor with Katerina Anghelaki Rooke and Thomas Economacos

Audience in the Cultural Centre

Takuya Kaneda and Maria Capari

Socrates Kabouropoulos reading Paula Meehan's poems

Dostena Laverge reading and Katerina Anghelaki Rooke listening


Poetry Reading underneath the Tree

That amazing tree *

If this tree cannot recall the tears,
Then clouds shall shed their rain coats
And children will huddle together
In memory of those who had gone before their day.
Always it is difficult but for poets to speak a few words
When there is so much human pain not to be forgotten.
Picasso did it with Guernica,
But after Auschwitz, Rwanda, Dafur, or former Yugoslavia
Who has still the strength to speak out with a human voice?
Foucault cautioned not to transform everything
Into such lyrical protest
And thereby prevent finding places of silence
Even though many hearts throb when people want to speak
Although throats are dry and their hands quiver
For true greatness makes every man or woman, child or aged person
Just stutter out some words as sign of humbleness.

Hatto Fischer 4.4.2006

* That tree standing in the court yard of the Municipal building was used by the Germans to hang resisters during Second World War





Katerina Anghelaki Rooke

Katerina Anghelaki Rooke



13th Day or Now on land!

The heavenly battles descend on the soil
and death returns to earth:
its place of origin.
High flashes accompany it;
it is the only luxury left to the corpses.
Indeed, how did evil change direction!
From below, its immediate action would start:
from mud, hoofs of animals
boots, swamps and it would rise
up to the black clouds and the innocent souls.
Now the desert,
as I imagine it with countless pink shades
sand breasts
breathing in the desert wind
a secret body
with its dark oases hidden under
impartial spectator of disaster
conquered by parachutes.
From above downwards now
the evolution of bleeding flesh;
heaven a past in flames
will be forgotten
and the good will be thrust in the earth
buried deep, very deep in memory.

14th Day or the abolition of inner space

I am a speck of sand
taken in by black waters.
The place is flooded and the boundaries
separating the two spaces lost:
the inner one where memories grow
together with weed-fears, grass-hopes
and the outside one choking in the dirty scourge
of the latest news.
When was the boundary destroyed?
Lava, sewers, waste
pour into my inside self unimpeded
- my inner life has been abolished.
I am thinking of getting hold of a little branch of tenderness
to remember your birthday
years ago in a snow-covered landscape.
But your body weighs on me
like all those dead ones
and those eyes of yours
–their color that of a shuddering reptile–
were narrated to me
by inconsolable mothers
painted for me by crying girls
and wounded boys.
How was I so plundered
without ever stepping out of my room
and the private garden
of my sorrow when I saw you leaving
became a collective tomb?
How is it that I,
who was so involved with the skirmishes
between the visible and the invisible
ended up a fanatic viewer
of the most recent broadcasted horror?

15th Day or the lesson

For Pedro Mateo

We said we would have our lesson again today
As if nothing…as if nothing…
All of us humans without “power”
“popular mandate”
Or some “sacred duty” calling us.
Language we said
Language the eternal joker!
What does “mascara” mean?
The additional face! Funny, eh?
Words, tiny surprises
With their simple meaning,
Their complex function….
Abruptly we stopped laughing;
We thought that even language
Sounds insane these days…
Night fell, we switched the light on
And saw how dark our glance was.
Reality gives us the most thorough teachings
And this knowledge is first a heavy could
That crushes you
Before becoming a light sheet
That covers you.

16th Day or the End of the person

I was going towards sleep
With my head full
Of smoke from the burned earth,
And my heart squeezed
By invisible pincers.
And while every night
I imagine the end of my person
As others pray
I found tonight on my pillow
A gift given to me by war:
The insignificance of my death.

17th Day or One more Elegy

All quiet on the front today
The only thing they didn’t tell us was how many
Scorched ones they pushed into the sand.
I wondered if the desert
Rejects alien bodies
As our poor body does…
Night is falling; I am reading letters
From between the Wars: they correspond
And kiss through words
Without knowing if they will ever meet
Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, Rilke.

18th Day or The new order of things

I dreamed
That I was in the old love nest
But everything was changed:
Walls had collapsed
New rooms had appeared
Whiter than lilies
With nurses all in white
Inviting me in.
“You know, I used to come here years ago…”
I said as if I were apologizing
While with my eyes I licked the corner
Where the mattress used to be.
It looked now like something rubbed out
In a child’s copy book
Or like the snout of a wild-boar
Sunk in the green mould
Covering an ancient stone.
A sweetish smell sprang from the spot
Which did not remind
The old supine one
Of anything anymore
“The new order of things”
I whispered waking up.

19th Day of what we know about sleep

“We do not know where
The knowledge of sleep rests”
Said the professor on Television
between two assaults in the Gulf –
and added that the more minute
the animal is, the less it sleeps.
Look at the bird
That hangs from a high branch;
It knows
That if it falls asleep
Intoxicated by the divine blue
It’ll lean downwards
The branch will break
And who knows in what abysmal
Dead man’s arms it’ll fall
If it deeply sleeps
If it deeply dreams of heaven.

20th Day or The little phrase

The sun is like a mirror today
With brown spots appearing on the surface
And the reflection of an uncertain shape
Standing instead of an image.
The life-giving content of vegetation
The expressions of passion
And the beautiful decorations of decay
Everything is tedious this hour
That motionless resembles an animal
When it sniffs its last moment
Even if it doesn’t know
How the divine can smell!
And suddenly in this soup of existence
A little phrase comes up to the surface
From deep down, from the bog of dreams.
Unexpected, forgotten, playful, childish
With its sounds unmolested by time
A little phrase, a gold-fly
Flew in from the open window:
“Coming, ready or not!”

Days Later or The moral is always in prose

I re-read the War poems. I observe how the despair of the others
became my own myth. My inner life has just come back and its
suitcases are full of impressions. But why was I in such a hurry to
write down my reactions to all these frightful but so remote events
of the time?
It is because my hidden person has topped telling stories to my
visible one. Like bodiless heads all my stories float in a colourless
substance that is not even memory.
Who went where and fate was spoiled? Who unbuttoned his shirt?
Who locked the door? How is it possible that I cannot narrate all
The visits of death?
I got involved in foreign wars because in my heart the traces of my last passionate campaign have disappeared.

Katerina Anghelaki Rooke with Dostena Laverge beside her at the table


Dostena Laverge

Dostena Laverge

Supper with poppie

One day lies will sparkle
like crushed puppies
and they won’t be lies
just crushed poppies sparkling.

Drink their pink colour and think of me
with a red necklace on Easter Day I’ll come
and I won’t be pale
with all these wounds open, with all these colours flowering on the skin
and a wave under the armpit
carrying you in its hollow
love slips in
aroused the tender down close to the body
at sunset when the predatory glance of the trees dies
the axes painted in red die
between the fingers a sun shines

a drop

you are going to recognize me because that evening
we shall all dine together
each one fixing the wound
a sunset wave-breaker
waves high as they fall in dreams
then you will loosen your fists that I may drink
this very instant
before the deluge
pray that this instant lasts
as long as the moon lasts
so that we may know the simple entries the way
from your house to my house
so that your words are the thread
that your story flows the constellation foams
like your poetry that night
that I may be with you
like the fire with the tree
just as much as a first kiss
impossible to hold
all those dining around the table will cry as well
and their eyes will overflow from the high waves
and then I’ll say to you
“Look at the skyblue, look at the sparkling white
that spring out of the sea today”.

(translation from French by Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke)

The resurrection of colours

(from hope to the paintings of Anastasi)

Doubt-still down there in the gallery’s basement
Frozen with shame, his eyes devoured dusk until it went grey
It holds a tiny bone – painted like a candle
Hope, it said, is a mole
It doesn’t know if it digs upwards or downwards

The face of a saint, people thought and went to pray
In one of the cells next to Claustrophobia

Then someone screamed in the laboratory –
A herd of elk in a prehistoric cave
Cry of a newborn, trumpet of an inflamed angel
A blue bee explodes at the top of a kiss and opens up
A wound in the abyss –
The red face of Jesus
(Triumphant and suffering)
The face doesn’t play around with forms
Shameless sanctity of the world after the resurrection
A vision beyond the dice roll dialectics.
Down there colours don’t heal –
The greens of an immortal April
Don’t forget and don’t remember,
They mate: a musician, a deer, a chariot, suns, ovules, toads, in the shell
Of desire, fish carrying the genetic code of man,
Throne of hope in the valley of high winds,
Star tempests in the lemon fields,
Rams crowned with orange colours gallop
Crossing the electric gardens of chaos…without
Armour, without skin
Bodies, faces, desires, hair: a star fusion

Hope is there where you are mostly in danger, at the frontier of becoming,
Patience and audacity to grasp by liberating
The form which is being born a point that never ceases to flourish…

Somewhere, at the foot of the tops, even further down than the inconsolable blue
Repetition plays with an unknown touch, an all new memory.

The time remaining

Switch off the T.V., the radio, the computer, the newspapers
The fir, the series crime, the epidemic
The war and the rhetoric
The washing machine, the bedside light
To the bodies clocks: six billion time bombs
Are the only ones to savour the time remaining.


Audience listening to Dostena Laverge and Katerina Anghelaki Rooke

Takuya Kaneda with his daughter to the left

Thomas Economacos with Maria Capari behind him and to the right Ionna

Thomas Economacos

Takuya Kaneda with Fatema Nawaz (with sun glasses)


Hatto Fischer and Socrates Kabouropoulos

Hatto Fischer

“July 7th”
“Poem about love in a world divided”



No one can be complacent anymore in Baghdad
Especially when American soldiers conduct house searches
For insurgents and force instead women and children
To stand against the wall till fear is written in their faces.
What show of power is that? A scene on CNN depicted it.
The soldiers claim: these women are not telling the truth,
But only when the soldiers seize the mother of all mothers
As if being arrested, then the others cry:
‘Stop! We will tell you what we know!’
As a follow-up to the road map to Baghdad,
Foreign powers makes sure that now different rules than under Hussein apply.
Now power is direct as indirect, secretive, elusive and deadly.
The general outcome is violence stalking everywhere.
Baghdad is after March 21, 2003 without its historic meaning.
The work of soldiers is no longer to shoot to kill,
But they want the women as potential informers to talk.
They want them to provide information
About the whereabouts of insurgents as they are called
And yet betrayal known in history as the story of Judas
Leaves many true dreams broken, meanings destroyed,
By those who want not peace but permanent war to prevail.

What can be noted in such times?
No wings of silence, no winds of dust
Exist in the desert outside the city.
Only horizons elongate into the blue
When children paint to see future stars.
In search of convictions that life continues
and that nothing is in vain what they can do
Since earth will still exist in many centuries to come.

Sober thoughts need the truth, even if the hand
Given by the mother to the child quivers
As soldiers burst again into the houses of Baghdad
Out of fear for their own lives in a strange land
They have occupied without knowing the reason why.

As to the protection of the hand giving shade
When the sun stands high, there will come the time
That all these occupations cease and recede like water
Drying out till far away the cry is heard to stop the war.

Athens 23.12.2003

London – after July 7th

Soft under
the curvature of a stone
reminds of the sea
but way down and under in London
on that terrible day
Tears won’t go away.
Surely you will have to give yourself a shove
to last the day
while remembering how we used to rollick
over the hills of Hampstead Heath
in all innocence while searching
for future outlets
or we climbed to the mountain top
to view the world
but now, after what has happened,
you feel no longer to be at the crest of a wave
allowing thoughts to surf
but instead emotional waves sweep through the streets
to leave pedestrians struck
as if London streets no longer connect
to memory lanes
now emptied of people
and only police sirens cut through the air
gone silent as faces went pale
went they heard the news.

London 12.7.2005

Poem about love in a world divided

I would not know
Where to put my love poem
If not underneath the pillow
For when I sleep and dream
There comes a world to your threshold
Of consciousness
In vivid colors, all alive
As if only philosophers could walk that terrain
In-between city walls and historic routes
Which poets used to take
And now beggars sweep with bare hands
Since their daily loan
Are the metal chunks
Caravans left behind
Many centuries ago
But now the air is filled with other scents
As if rose petals float above the roofs
And give to the sunlight a shade of dust
Not known in the Western world until now
When overwhelmed by all these challenges
From the Islamic side articulating new sounds
Which many no longer understand as call of love
When compared to someone as close as far away
Not in distant lands but down by the river washing the feet
Of those who have carried out of the city
All day long the rubbish and used up sentiments
To free those stranded in the city from the anxiety
That this night they need not fear sickness
Or the laughter of death stalking ever closer in
For love resonates within city walls
And cools the forehead of the body shaken by temperatures
Soaring up to near forty degrees
To elongate the wild fantasies
Created when men view women veiled
As if only eyes could talk in darkness
About to descend when sleep puts to rest
Those wild dreams about love.

Athens 15.4.2006

Socrates Kabouropoulos

“Poems of Paula Meehan” (transl. into Greek by Socrates Kabouropoulos) Από τη συλλογή (Pillow Talk, 1994)


στον Brendan Kennelly

Ήταν το δίχρωμο άλογο στον διπλανό κήπο
που μ’ έβγαλε από τ’ όνειρο
με το πρωινό του χλιμίντρισμα. Ξαναγύρισα
στην αποθήκη του σπιτιού,
δωμάτιο τώρα του αδελφού μου,
όλο γραβάτες, πουλόβερ και μυστικά.
Τα μπουκάλια ακούστηκαν στο κατώφλι της πόρτας,
το πρώτο λεωφορείο σύρθηκε ως τη στάση.
Το υπόλοιπο σπίτι κοιμόταν

εκτός απ’ τον πατέρα μου. Τον άκουσα
να σκουπίζει τη στάχτη από τη σχάρα,
να βάζει την τσαγιέρα στην πρίζα, να σιγομουρμουρίζει έναν σκοπό.
Έπειτα ξεκλείδωσε την πίσω πόρτα
και βγήκε στον κήπο.

Το φθινόπωρο είχε σχεδόν τελειώσει, η πρώτη πάχνη
άσπριζε τις πλάκες του κτήματος.
Ήταν μεγαλύτερος από ότι είχα υπολογίσει,
τα μαλλιά του ολότελα ασημένια,
και είδα για πρώτη φορά το κύρτωμα
στον ώμο του, είδα ότι
το πόδι του ήταν ξερό. Πού πήγαινε;
Τόσο πρωί, με τ’αστέρια ακόμα στη δύση;

Έπειτα ήρθαν: πουλιά
κάθε μεγέθους, σχήματος, χρώματος∙ ήρθαν
απ’ τους φράχτες και τους θάμνους,
από το γείσο της στέγης και από τις καλύβες του κήπου,
από τα βιομηχανικά κτήματα, τα μακρινά λιβάδια,
ήρθαν από το Ντάμπερ Κρος
και από τα χαντάκια του Βόρειου Δρόμου.

Ο κήπος ήταν ένα πανδαιμόνιο
όταν ο πατέρας μου σήκωσε ψηλά τα χέρια του
και τίναξε τα ψίχουλα στον αέρα. Ο ήλιος

καθάρισε την καμινάδα του Ο’ Ράιλι
κι εκείνος ξαφνικά ακτινοβολούσε,
ένα τέλειο όραμα του Αγ. Φραγκίσκου,
ολόκληρος, νέος ξανά,
σ’ έναν κήπο στο Φίνγκλας.

Socrates Kabouropoulos reading his translation of Paula Meehan’s poem

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