Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Through Day and Night

Sunrise, sunset, poetry is alive throughout the day,

The night, and present in all seasons, for years lingering on

like a haze of fog long after all others have left to go

somewhere alone, in two, in company or in tune with time.


hf 23.9.2004



Coming Suddenly to the Sea

Coming suddenly to the sea in my twenty-eighth year,
to the mother of all things that breathe, of mussels and whales,
I could not see anything but sand at first
and burning bits of mother-of-pearl.
But this was the sea, terrible as a torch
which the winter sun had lit,
flaming in the blue and salt sea-air
under my twenty-eight-year infant eyes.
And then I saw the spray smashing the rocks
and the angry gulls cutting the air,
the heads of fish and the hands of crabs on stones:
the carnivorous sea, sower of life,
battering a granite rock to make it a pebble—
love and pity needless as the ferny froth on its long smooth waves.
The sea, with its border of crinkly weed,
the inverted Atlantic of our unstable planet,
froze me into a circle of marble, sending the icy air out in
lukewarm waves.
And so I brought home, as an emblem of that day
ending my long blind years, a fistful of blood-red weed in my hand.

from “New Music” (Section 4), Dudek’s Collected Poetry


Coming up for air

By Hatto Fischer

Thin blue veils cover the faces

Of the fishermen

As water runs down their chins

And then drips on ropes

Running to shores

Where sunshine dries pebbles

During the long day of work

While at night and heavy breathing

Night dreams awake to hear

Waves laugh along the shore

To the tune of the moon

Saying in a half darkened voice:

No one there, no one there

To play with the winds

Until the children come,

Ready to suddenly dive

Off high rocks

To the fishes

Coming up for air

Comparing two poems

“Once the tourists leave, then they give back the beaches to the winds”

– Seferis

Two poems, two different junctures in time as entry to a reflection about poetry close to the physis: nature, but also to the lawfulness man can deduce out of observations of nature.

Parmenides made such an observation: while the chariot was taking the man out of the city, the axel turned so fast in the hole of the wheels, that they began to smoke. Physical resistance could not be described in any other formal way. Poets make these observations out of everyday happenings. They detect a discrepancy between what is taking place, physically speaking, and what can be named in a language understood by mankind.

There is the universe and no one ever tried to toss a pebble into that direction, but into the sea. Stones sink, but pebbles if thrown artfully can skip, run, jump over waves and then dive elegantly or else take a nose dive. It all depends on the angles and surfaces of the rock thrown since like airplanes and birds they can sail or else block themselves out of the thin air needed to be divided before getting through.

But to come back to Parmenides and his observation, Thomas Kuhn wrote that the modern technical development lets us no longer observe transformation of energy as the case with the locomotive when instead a high speed train lets but a spark of electricity become visible as it speeds along the rails. London – Paris through the tunnel is now within a simple reach, Paris and Brussels even closer.

When it comes to observing things, there is the thesis by Martin Jay that the twentieth century has undergone a ‘disenchantment of the eye’. The debate whether the whole or the parts should be observed, that is just a reflection of certain political theories going out of date. They disputed about determining life through the whole or through parts, but in any case, eyes, sights, perceptions and elongations thereof through a looking glass or a magical eye like in Alice in Wonderland became just that: a metaphor of what man can see in a world to be travelled around at ever higher speeds until satellites replace the human eye and still make observations possible.

Poetry gathers ways of finding ways through danger zones and through an abyss of feeling to be no longer in tune with the world.

To give an understanding of the poem by Dudek, then it is important that he ends up holding in his hand ‘a fistful of blood-red weed’.

If man returns from the sea, or from a voyage, what does he hold in his hands? Odyssey described Homer as Homer invented Odyssey when returning home without anything in his hands but with a thought as to what would be the wisest decision once again ashore: to sleep close to the sea but risk the cold during the night or else to seek shelter in the forest where it is warm but then risk wild animals. Odyssey decides to leave the beach and his decision is rewarded by finding a special olive tree which is composed of two parts: a wild one, and a civilized one. Together they offer so much shade and protection that easily three men could house underneath its branches forming a shelter. There Odyssey sleeps and recovers from having been tossed into the sea and then washed ashore more than just exhausted.

Home coming is like coming up for air.

In Dudek’s poem what strikes most is this metaphor of ‘circle of marble’ as if a linkage to the Mediterranean sea, but now it is the Atlantic with its icy winds and long spells of hardships that only the nature of the North knows to impose upon mankind.

If not a stumble or a humble around Halifax or the Maine state, then it is a part of the world where the philosophy belongs to the ‘screaming owl’ coming down from Yukon when going South, and to the many birds travelling with the geese North once summer comes again.

Over and again the glance of such natural phenomenon is filled with wonder. Still, the proportion of man’s dwellings to what the animals can still claim as their untouched nature is no more than a ruffle in the feathers.

Here begins the narrow road to infinity that anyone senses once touching the feathers that birds have left behind once they take off from the beach.

Circles of marbles – a symbolic perfection of the perfect, or as if life is the infinitive if a derivative of the derivate, the life of the life of others all longing for life. That then is no longer simple but a rainbow stretching across the horizon when sun and rain combine to make anyone crazy to look at this natural wonder.

Indeed, Dudek at the age of 28 came to his reverence of the sea as giver of life.

Hatto Fischer

Athens 21.2.2004




Sonja A. Skarstedt

November 2003


The galaxy window cracks open:

a strand of stars

greets the sunrise

certain as a tyrant

the desert

a disheveled dustbowl

rises into view

its foreboding erases the stars

whose pandemic light


splinter after splinter


a Tuareg appears out of nowhere

his sandals soft and withered

as his endurance, disturb the silt

on a hardpacked dune


the oasis where his camel slouches


its tattered hide

looped over spindles of bone


the Tuareg extends his chapped hand

to a leafy branch and extracts

a small rough sphere

whose biblical promise to nourish

makes him tremble

for a single monumental



he cuts the fruit with the ivory-handled blade

his grandfather bestowed on him

the day he was tall enough to tug the fur

on a camel’s belly

his thrust reveals a pocket

of wet red jewels he hopes

will sustain him through

the blistering hours

of infinite grit and endless days

to come

but before he can lift

the pomegranate feast

to his dry lips

a bullet spins into his ribs

as it tears through him

his mind snaps away

to a fragrant corner of the past

it is my time

intones his mind as if

it has been preparing

for this moment all along

it is my time

the air rushes past him

silica tainted


he meets the sand with all

the force of a whisper

his Tuareg robe billows around him

commemorative as a blue flag

its majestic calm sends


across the pale sepia horizon

as a clockwork formation

of Uncle Sam’s finest

moves out of the oasis shadows


on first inspection the folds

of his face are more leathery

than the shell that holds

the pomegranate whose innards

are still clutched in his right hand

its lifeblood glistens

its seedy scatter spreads

and vanishes into the nearby umber silt


its uneaten fruit is already

drying in the wind as the Tuareg’s

copper hand, already fast asleep

lets go of the awareness that

it will never again trace

his granddaughter’s face

his torso resonates serenity

its feet freed from pebbly jags

and burning parches are already

pondering cool cirrus, far removed

from the pulverizing burden

of life, its tapestry of fissures

those caustic spokes of repetition

birth death battle.

The Blue People carry their brother away

bury with him the lie of no more revolutions

and other promises whose only reprieve

comes in particles of cartilage

and complacency.


Jack moon

by Mary Lathrop


The sun is beginning to rise.

I sit in the corner chair,

leaning against my Turkish pillow,

looking out the eastern window.

The sky pinks above the gray cut of the mountains

and the dark traces of cloud

catch fire from the first, far-distant light.

A planet --  (which one? Jupiter? Venus? somebody should know this!)

shines gold in the last dark blue moment of the night sky,

then blinks itself away into the dawn.


Last evening I sat in this same spot,

in this same chair,

against this same Turkish pillow,

while this same, exact sun now rising, set.

I couldn’t see it, of course, the sun.

It was hidden behind my house,

behind my neighbor’s house,

behind all the hills and houses in the west.

But before me, the whole line of the horizon was blooming

and in the eastern sky

a fat, November moon

rose translucent, big as hope.

I named it Jack. Jack Moon.


I will live two lives today. I will live

my regular life. The one in which I

call to make an appointment with the eye doctor,

make a second pot of coffee in the afternoon,

kiss my husband goodnight and maybe make love.

But I will live a second life today, a second life

that will also be real. A life in which

Jack Moon and I go everywhere together.

“Oh look, Jack,” I’ll say as a V of geese fly south,

and Jack will answer, “Yes.”

Then later, when we’re driving in the car,

Jack will whisper, “Please, go this way,”

and I will take a new road

to somewhere I’ve never been,

because Jack Moon asked me to,

and it pleases me to please him.




by Charis Vlavianos


The night was falling

and falling

the voice talking

kept lowering

until it totally faded away.

Did the lines, I wonder, still exist?

The lines (that he had written for her)

outside the voice?


“Not yet and still yes”

he responded.

He himself a dream in a dream.

The brightness of the scintillating transparency

no longer invoked the bygone sobs of reality.

The absence has been transformed into

a pure form

an impermeable nakedness of form.


That was the ultimate quietude?

Nothing called him any longer.

Nothing could call him.

But the voice in the dream…

the already consummated.

(Once, one time,

he felt it, he must have felt it,

the passion for poetry

the desire to air this invisible breath.)


…for love is a preparation,


a creative presence of mind:

“not yet and still yes”



In the first ιclat

when the need to give shape to its deepest form

still made sense.

How about then?

“…a life of erroneous disavowals

untimely farewells,

a life loaded with the fear

of the inevitable despair”.

Now that he has reached the limit,

that the adolescent arrogance

--the terrifying arrogance of ignorance—

has disguised into inadequacy

condemned to certain failure?

(Peacefully spreading

before him the sea at that very moment

and the secret time of life

was flowing again through his veins.)


“Hang on to me

hang on to me

to hang on to time.”

(In the darkness

her hand loomed

to cover his mouth before)


The bitter

seductive game with the words*

always chiseling

again and again.

If only he could

begin again

from the beginning

go back to summer of 1980

when the poem

still was

before knowledge.


“Harmony must


despite everything accomplished

in favor of beauty,

must remain

captive of nothing,

is condemned

to serve the nothing

for reality avenges life

has to avenge life

through the poem that celebrates it”

(He knew so

yet he believed that he could

find within its rifts

the definite metaphor of death.)


The end.

Everything has ended.

Gone is that innocence

(“so attractive in those years”)

that kept him bound to useless knowledge.

Its unmeasured song has died out.

The voice will succumb to the will.

(…they were lying

and through the window were looking silently at the moon

sliding down the black frame.

They knew...) (so did the night)


the stone with the "y"

by Socrates Kabouropoulos


Negligent where you

ready to step on any decision

that would open you wide to the world.


Whatever counts whatever doesn’t

you caressed about the slow ripening

of July fruit

or the little things traveling birds

might bring you.


In the middle of summer

unintended, one night

I drove you off the

negligent path

showing you the stone with my ‘Yin’.


“This is a precious stone; my ‘Yang’

is curved on it”, you said.



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