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TRANSLATIONS

 

Selected Poems

Selected Poems
Southword Editions, 2005.
Poems by Kyriakos Charalambides. Translated from Greek by Greg Delanty.

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Kyriakos Charalambides is a Greek Cypriot whose work sings in the odes of western culture, yet is most at home upon the stage of Greek civilisation. He specifically speaks in the tradition of the Modern Greek poets Cavafy, Seferis and Elytis, but in his own Cypriot register. Kyriakos Charalambides is the recognised voice of Cyprus since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

What the critics have said:

"One of those rare poets whose works will endure for centuries." -The Penniless Press

"He writes in the tradition of modern Greek poets like Cavafy, George Seferis and Odysseus Elytis, but finds his own voice and style. Delanty presents these short to medium-length poems in clear, vivid English." - The Bloomsbury Review

"The poems here are wonderfully lyrical and imaginative, the language working in a way undreamt of in current Irish poetry- one reason we need to read more translations." -Books Ireland

 

Work from Charalambides' Selected Poems

 

 

Turtle Hunt

 

You don’t catch turtles with a fly rod.

They appear around 9 p.m. on the sand

dragging trawl nets, drawn by their own course.

Puffing, they slice the beach in two

and dig to a depth of about a foot;

they lay their eggs inside.

 

Quite a crowd turn each turtle shell

upside down with long sticks.

When they chop off a head, they’re surprised

that the heart of the turtle throbs on

for such a long time.

 

 

__________

 

The Dove After The Flood

 

The dove unfolded its wings, set off without shillyshally

to wherever the joyful sob

of its cooing led it.

Embarking, he saw the silent lake.

Nothing was familiar.

He traveled in the morning, wings spread

until he spotted masts; spars of wrecked trees.

 

In an age where there are fewer angels

than today angels flocked around

this messenger.

They were jealous that this dove

could manage the flight paths of the earth

with his little eyes and could dawdle

or return according to his mood.

 

But he

welcome the wind since he couldn’t see

the silver underside of the olive leaves

unless the wind blew. That was his job: ah

cut a twig and wing it home to that great

floating house of Noah.

 

 

__________

 

Icarus

 

The sun

followed the contest of Icarus

high diving

into his grave,

losing the radiant glow.

 

The sun turned pale,

the sea made a pact with the sun

and she kept the pact,

neither of them in a panic.

 

The sum plunged beneath the sea

where Icarus fell, but couldn’t come up with the lad.

The sun emerged again at dawn

hoping to retrieve him some day.

 

Copyright ©2005 Kyriakos Charalambides

English translation Copyright ©2005 Greg Delanty

 

 

Kyriakos Charalambides

 

 

Kyriakos Charalambides was born in Akhna, in the Famagusta District of Cyprus. He studied history and archeology at the University of Athens. He is the author of nine books of poetry. Three of them were awarded the First State Prize for Poetry (Cyprus). His book Tholos (Dome) was awarded the Athens Academy Prize (1989) and his collection Metahistory was awarded the Greek National Prize for Poetry (1996). In 1997 he published his own translation and introduction to Romanos the Melodist’s Three Hymns which was awarded the Hellenic Society Literary Translator’s Prize. He is also the recipient of the 1998 Cavafy Prize (Egypt).

 

 

Greg Delanty

 

 

Greg Delanty was born in Cork, Ireland in 1958 and lives in Burlington, Vermont where he teaches at St. Michael’s College. His Collected Poems: 1986-2006 was published in 2006. Delanty’s other poetry collections are The Ship of Birth, The Blind Stitch, The Hellbox, American Wake, Southward, and Cast in the Fire; special editions include Striped Ink and The Fifth Province. He has also translated Aristophanes and Eiripides.

Delanty edited, with Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Jumping Off Shadows: Selected Contemporary Irish Poetry (1995) and, with Robert Welsh, The Selected Poems of Patrick Galvin (1995).

 

 

 

 

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