The Axion Esti
Translated by Edmund Keeley and George Savidis
Anvil Press, 1980
This, Elytis' master work first appeared in 1959. It is an extended poem, part autobiography, part history of WWII Greece. "The pervasive theme of the poem is that the measure of man's humanity resides in his ability to hold opposites in just relation, his ability to survive as neither angel nor devil, sensualist nor saint, but as something beyond the two, something that can assimilate both." -- from the preface by Keeley and Savidis.
The poem is in three sections. I include some brief quotes from each. Punctuation is as in the translation.
"Your commandment," he said, "is this world
Here then am I,
Praised be the light and man's
TO AXION ESTI
(Greek Edition of The Axion Esti)
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