Born in Smyrna (now Izmir) but his family moved to Athens at the start of WWI. He studied law in Paris and joined Greece's diplomatic service but was from an early age aiming at being a poet which he persued during a diplomatic career that took him to London, the Middle East and other postings culmunating in being ambassador to the UK 1957-61 before retiring to Athens.
With Seferis, it is lines rather than whole poems that most often grab my imagination.
What are they after, our souls, traveling
on the decks of decayed ships
Bend if you can to the dark sea forgetting
the sound of a flute on naked feet
that trod your sleep in the other, the sunken life.
I have seen in the night
the sharp peak of the mountain,
seen the plain beyond flooded
with the light of an invisible moon,
seen turning my head,
black stones huddled
and my life taut as a chord
beginning and end
the final moment:
I stared at you with all the light and darkness I possess.
(Summer Solstice, XI)
And yet I used to love Syngrou Avenue
the double rise and fall of trhe great road
bringing us out miraculously to the sea
the eternal sea, to cleanse us of our sins.
(A Word for Summer)