Greek Poet      ILIAS   FOUKIS
Poetry is the voice of the Gods



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  Who of us today would with a clear conscience dare
   call himself a advocate of virtue?


From the speech held at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm on 11 December 1957.




If such be
the will of the God on Earth
without needing to sing the praises of Zeus
today I...
  I will walk all day on the Earth.

And more importantly
as soon as I glimpse the secure distance
I`be kept from death...
praise be to Apollo...
I will not be disturbed
  by the demon of Self-Destruction.

If such not be
the will of the God of the Heavens
then my dreams
which lay siege to the essence of Existence
will like Sisyphus
  be caught in the nightmare of pointless labor
so not even one meter of heaven will be granted...
and do you know where these Dreams
for a better World
and a Beautiful Greece will end?
Unobserved and slowly
they will be eaten by the rust
  and the dust of forgetfulness.

If such be
the will of the God of the Sea
my own spectres which are armed
with gravity of conscience and forgiveness
will then have the rare opportunity
of washing away the living sins of Troy
which have become the most dangerous Olympus
with their cynical anticipation
that Greece shall be eternal before the eyes of the World.

If such not be
the will of the God of Fire
then I who know better the fatal bond
of Greece with Flames
will lose my last
to show mercy
and the Cities will continue
to quietly burn.

And indeed... if such not be
the will of the God of Love
because of this horrifying alienation
which human emotions have undergone
no one will love me at all.

The worst thing though is that this Tragedy
will not simply end here...
This God of Love
has come highly touted by Olympus...
A good deal more than your usual Idols
and different from them
usurper of all longings
and with many possibilities for immortality.

And all the departing travellers
will testify that no matter where they went
they saw none of this incredible love anywhere
which in itself would be enough to convince
the easily deceived world
that the Summit had been worth the effort.

Few people love each other in this World.

And these few
love each other only as much as they are permitted
by the thought that you can never ascend into the Great Sky
because there... there has truly evolved
     an anthropic History
but one that`s been lived by the Gods alone...

And for us to stay in the life which endures
more or less but for a single Season
we in any case my dear Apollo
were in no quandary...
  felt no mystery...
because we never expressed any interest
in being Gods.

The problem is very simple...
We are not wanted
on this Earth...

Utterly paralyzed and directionless
we have moved about in the world
without being observed by anyone...

Perhaps we should get organised
we the Great Anonymous mass
to bring this madness with false
Heroes to an end
those who only the Gods with their
own wretchedness know how to erect...

And as if Troy wasn`t enough
to tyrannise Greece
then Olympus went and committed a crime
  of its own as well.
The brain of the World has become stupefied
flinging at their hollow heads
its ferocious desire
  to be God.

By these Gods
which will control everything from on high
and even more appalling
us who Will and Chance in tandem have
  wanted to keep down here...
despite the fact we roamed the Earth backwards and forwards
to bring about Great Changes in the World
all opinion will defame us
and none of our testimony will ever be heard.

And that is also why I`m afraid
that we who walked on the Earth alone
will be left completely devoid of history.


As I did my tour of the World
there was this island on the other side of the Caribbean current
that when it saw all the travelers
without any gift
  for great discoveries
it did not suffer any geographical reformation
but in a completely schematic sense
   reminded me of Ithaca...

The Island was far enough away
to make me doubt for yet one more time
Penelope`s devotion...
that she may have once more dishonored Greece
philandering with those defeated at Troy
and amplifying their Fantasy
that they were vanquishing her body...
what I`m saying is the Greek army would have failed
in demeaning her Happiness
which might have brought down the Soul of Greece.

(And just so you know...
If something like that should
happen...then the Eternal Man
that Philosophy dreamed of in Athens
can be forgotten once and for all...)

Despite all that at such moments
it is not worth wasting Divine Breath
on such insignificant things
because that was the period on Olympus
where a disillusionment without precedent was perpetuated
regarding the failure of Universal Reason
when Women were found in its Essence.

And now when I see the Palms on the Island swaying
I remember the Islands of Greece
and when we set out for Troy
how simple-minded we were not understanding
that punishing mercilessly those desires
which endowed the youth of Troy with such brilliance
with those narrow visions and parochialism of ours
we came up with a good recipe
for heartache and Universal Catastrophe.

And asking forgiveness for that Fire
I see behind the backs of the Caribbean
with a turbulent present of frightened people...
and whether it comes into the World or not
all the currents of Human Thought will be drowned
in dispute...
and finally when they want to leave
a dignified inscription
on the tombs of the drowned
the autonomy of Continent will be defamed.

I in particular would be repudiated
I would become anathema for all lives
and the fact that immediately after the destruction of Troy
I was sent by the Greeks
in quest of New and Virgin lands...
then when the World had a growing suspicion
that the only work that went well
    with this People
was plundering.

Much later other travelers would come
loaded down with Ghosts
   and Mythological notebooks...
in which would be written that there never had been
a brilliant period of superstition
and as soon as they set foot on the Island
the minute these Wise Elders
attacked Continent...
they would confirm that their thoughts had come to an end
having squandered them on overcoming currents.

would be taken aback by this misfortune
and would go against the Thinkers
and indeed quite often... would beseech God
to lay waste to the islands.

Someone in any case would lose
and while I have a presentiment even now
  about this terrible defeat
I would like to issue a warning
  to Apollo...
that the Ancient Mythologies
will no longer have a role to play.

So because of that...
when we met on the Island
and saw that as soon as the masts
   on the ship fell...
the masts of the Ghosts were raised
we then observed a moment of silence
commemorating the drowning of Aristotle in the currents
     of the Euripos
which had not yet occurred.


   ...Only if they pay their respects to the Gods
                      and Temples
   of the plundered land
   need they not fear
   Victory being turned into Rout...

Today the Horizons will be drowned in fog...

But since Nature today will not go in for such a shock
let us not forget that those who built the Temple
in the belief we would be defeated
found the road to Marathon very easy
and knowing that all Greek roads
    lead to Gods
no one prevented them from committing their final madness
which is considered harmless just as all the mad acts
        of the Defeated...

For them to collect the Fog from all the old Festivals
where they drank a glass... to the Daemon of Tyranny
that pitiless daemon who philosophises in Persian
and tosses the fog over me on the road.

And afterward let the clever Athenians say
that the mapping of roads
is the sacred aim of Philosophy.

Today may also be the day of fires...

But if that does n`t prove to be true
then something utterly terrible will...
Everything Greek always
retains the likelihood of going up in flames...

Fatalism which the Persians understand all too well
those would build the Future in their Dreams
parading through the Cities we just saved...
from that fire that we ourselves blessed
so we are condemned by it
and as persistent as the approach of darkness
the flames of superstition will swallow them
      in their withdrawal
for a second coming to the Greeks....

The coming that makes me want to weep
because we will be dead and thus will not be able
     to deal with it...
a truth that among the Persians will give rise to
hopes and thunderbolt-like expectations
that will set all my streets to flame.

In Nature today is the Day of Rainfall...
    of Seas... of Rivers...

But I have the distinct impression that today
something will happen without precedent...

Those defeated by the Greeks and by common sense
know all too well
the marriage of Deianeira with the river-god Achelous
which gave rise to despair on the Greek sea.

Some said it was in revenge
    for the lost honor of rivers...

Others said because the ferocious
waves of the seas from Troy
   in both their going and return
struck only Greece...

But suddenly the confession became an shout.

Gods...Slaves and all else
this illumination is a kind of demagoguery which Olympus
has hurled in the face of Greece.

The truth is only concerned with the Aegean
which had the misfortune to be a sea
that is now well-behaved and forgotten as it sits
listening to the command of an Era
that from here on
it must turn its face
   toward Greece alone...

Despite all that the serenity of this Nation
was disturbed by the youth of Achelous
which inflamed by the love for Deianeira
threatening and dynamic as all lovers are
"I see that this Nation” he said, "has stayed stuck here
it must set off at some point...”
But setting off it will be transformed into a river
we replied...
Better we leave it to its serene magnificence...

In any case surrounded by seas
as if by a special destiny
its madness will be limited.

In the final analysis...this land and all the World
is too narrow to worship speed.

You can wander around with such Spectres
only when the development of History
is controlled by the Gods...
because this day belongs to us...and placed before Apollo
look how ludicrous these
mysteries seem... the ceremonies...the superstitions...
and the worshipping of other non-human idols
frivolous as well...

That is also why I`m afraid
Because around the Victory have gathered
a grab-bag of superfluous Mythologies
and worst of all... this small-minded world
will believe that Victory
is owing exclusively to them.

Just the same as the waters flow from
the dust of Persia
and the Persians gathered at the edges of the Desert
like plants the Earth has condemned
and having no other way to grow
will begin History with floods.

In any case whatever form
the World might take at Marathon
Athens should not make any move at all.

I grant one final Victory
to that sensitive City
which as soon as it is freed from the longing for Triumph
will quarrel mortally with itself
about the present end of History

something which will cause the drying up of Temples
on the parched Earth of Attica...

which will dry up even more
and will not be able to withstand the flow of the Ages
which wait there so obsessively
like grey Supplicants
riveted to the Divinity of Patience.

*One who fought at the Battle Of Marathon


Of all the artistic failures
that have nothing to do
with either laws...
or the Muses...
pay attention to the main one...

Protect your heads
from Greece`s moan that was enclosed
inside your masks.

The role you undertook to play
does not strike anyone.

It itself is struck powerfully
by the irresistible aspiration of the Dialectic
to overwhelm the Human Being
with second opinions
in a second head
in order to interpret in keeping with its preferences
all that will take place in the space of the World.

Independently of what went on in your brains
which were subservient
just like the territory of the Empires
the protest of the soul
was not heard by anyone
because logic...
had been completely excluded.

It had been completely excluded...
and here it`s Greece`s fault as it ceded
     to Dionysos...
extents of Earth and soul...
for his light-hearted and silly games
and the Heavenly places which had never been touched
by the hands of tragedy
were invited onto the stage
to play sub-songs for amusement.

On the stairs...
you`d think the conscience of the World was territorial
applause broke out
and the Nightmares who even the night considered too dangerous
to be included in its darkness
confirmed that they had earned the right
to walk unmolested with Happiness
in the flow of Days.

If at times you erred
and shifted the hero from mask to brain
because of this collective authenticity
you will sustain heavy artistic blows.

Ah, here yes...
you found Olympus on its own Time!

Precisely when they lighted a few
superstitious fires on it
and who knows what other long road
it will burden Greece with again.

And on the return... the tired field-marshals
when they find themselves at the Mercy of Seas

and no hand will be stretched out to them
from Olympus to pull them back to solid Earth
and they will curse the Tragedy as inhuman and evil.

Spontaneously then...
plunge to the lower feelings of Earth
which warned you that
soon they will be looking straight into Nightmares` eyes.

Or so that we may be more like Humanists about the World
a kind of incomparable Fog
that will block visions this way and that
like a black sheet
for the mourning for Persephone.

That is why it`s also feared this make-believe Humanist
will take us by the throat
and dressed in white
   will go into Athens
in order to hide the evil Hour
which roams the World like a paralytic
to acquire the right to be History.

That is why actors if you desire
that your temporary presence on Earth
is not the cause of misunderstanding
regarding Humanity`s being dressed
   in the white garments of Humanism
it would be better if you had the conviction this World
has a skinny body... and its lines not suited
to that outfit
so that when the Future reveals
the failure of Philosophy
and the vanity of all things
perhaps the conscience of the World will also be upset
by the mistake that was shown to be so small
and enveloped its spacious heart
leaving Tragedy out.

And indeed now when Greek Horizons are clear
it is suspected that from the East
this same darkness and same cyclone
will rush in with mania slyly slipping past
      the Symplegades
and will demolish the Visions of the World
with the eternal and heretical slogan:
"Beware Bad Art and Athens.''


The soldiers...the Ships and the Women in particular
have no idea on how to give commands.

Arranged in a way it couldn`t be worse
it seems strange to them that despite all that
they have acted so sincerely.

After the ceremonial extinguishing of the Fires
and the fall of bodies into Hell
someone was found
who had given them the order
that there was no longer any need to act.

So as you see
the war has ended
and now the autobiographies have to be written
which to be as complete as possible
it was decreed they should be confessions
having as their narrative key
presumptuousness and command.

The poeticism of the Gods, however,
which would have been able to cover up the World`s scandals
went up in flames along with the Cities.

And while writing they recall for yet another time
these Cities alive...
and the People too.

with the past of which
all the Recollections have an unavoidable
   and mortal bond
and end their confession in that way...
that it would always remain a revolting Nightmare
and the way they had been betrayed would never be able
to be transformed into a Fairy-Tale.


Whatever was to happen...did.

Rome was left without me.
I was left without an emperor.

If you can surmount that imposing mountain I have
before me like one being hunted
despite the fact that it was blinded
by the Daemon of Height
you will see Fog being dragged over it
like a storm of protest
as soon as it confronts Rome without me
   and I`m without an Emperor.

If you then walk parallel
to the mad flow of this river
despite all the sanctification it received from the Roman Senate
you will see here in particular
what a Calamitous Destiny the World will suffer
for the fact Rome is without me
   and I`m without an Emperor.

If you turn your back
to this intolerable storm
(which like the expectations of Rome rushes in a rage)
despite the fact you have secured
and indeed with artistic skill
Thoughts in the Mind...
and emotions in the Heart
may Apollo still protect poor Dreamer
because you have here entered the course
that Human History will follow
in which Rome is without me
   and I`m without an Emperor.

And if you go to the back of this Temple
forgotten by this haemorrhage of feelings
on the inscriptions that the Gods
   have dedicated to Humanity
you will come to understand not even a single prayer
was whispered for the Salvation of the World
something that will convince you just how sordid and cynical
the Art of Reason has become
from the fact that Rome is without me
   and I`m without an Emperor.

And even this Bird
if you should follow it as it comes
   from the Deserts
looking to rest a while in Carthage
when no sooner it confronts the ugly affectations of Rome
then it immediately withdraws
deciding never to set foot on Earth again
and along with it also rise beating its wings
the dust then will blind
the universal logic of Things
for the fact Rome is without me
  and I`m without an Emperor.

But this time with a difference...
conservative I would say
and indeed Classic.

Since Philosophy was unable to divide
Rome and the Emperor into three
the third part was the poet so that at least
the sins of any Universal Dominion would be fewer
among all the things and feelings
which symbolise Humanity
before it had yet been conquered by Rome
   and the Emperor
I myself came a householder and free...

In that way so utterly sudden as I was lighting a candle
to the dead Virtues of the Greeks
which I await in the Sky of the World
like a hot and glowing sun
because from what I see the Soul of the Ecumenical
is about to bleed-out
from an excess of Executioners.


The presumptive lovers are in Ithaca
I don`t know where the true lover is.

To climb the olive trees
perchance to see the true wreath somewhere.

The olive trees are ageless on Ithaca
and like the glory of this island
do not dream of height
nor fear death.

In short
in regard to immortality they are serene
the pleasure their gigantic trunks will feel
besieged by the desire
to become a presumptive bed.

To climb the waves of the sea
perchance to take me to the true wreath.

I fear the low spiritual level
of the world`s seas
which will drag little Ithaca
along the Earth...
which never would accept becoming sea
and raising envy like a threatening mast
with the blessings of Poseidon
for good luck and a good time on Ithaca
they become a presumptive wreath.

In order to turn my face from the sky
and pray for the true lover.

The sky was born on Ithaca
it was utterly debased the moment it left there
and enraged by the devotion
I show for Odysseus
along with a whole raft of cynics and petty souls
which rules the roost up there
for this brilliant Virtue of ordinary mortals
will be blinded by the foggy hate
of becoming a presumptive bed.

To spread my arms to the horizons
perhaps at some point to touch the true wreath.

The sleeping leaders
who are not bothered by the black omens of Troy.
They will awake from the delicate hands
of a Beautiful Woman
cursing sleep and dreams
which have almost deprived them of being...
what else?...and the ugly old men
are looking forward to a sex party.

In order to wait for a warm Mediterranean wind
that will perhaps show me the course Odysseus` ship
has taken.

Despairing Penelope...
don`t make such mistakes!

All the winds are cold
and lead exclusively to Troy.

They will hurl you there as well
if you keep company with faithless beauty
which put a wreath on the world`s brow
demonic and calamitous
and then the world would suffer once again
because all Troy
will take breath from the ashes of destruction
act coarsely
and seize virgins.

I consider them to be the most serious
and dangerous suitors
who will continue to lay claim to me
like the dirty men
who turned their back on Troy in flames
because they were more enchanted
by the winds of the loneliness of a single woman
and then scattered by an unconscious horizon
have then nullified the conscience of the world
in order to carry out these wretched feats.

But when you get down to it
to carry on the scandal myself as well
so they won`t take me for a nothing
I would like to say straight from the shoulder
that these suitors who have colonised Ithaca
as the seas have done to the soul of Odysseus
have such weak male faces
it`s as if they`ve been washed off
completely expressionless that is
as pale as dust...

And they cannot face
the femininity of Penelope.


Homer returned Odysseus to Ithaca
as he was absolutely convinced
that the dead soldiers on the walls of Troy
after the surrender of the Gods to the rage of the Seas
and the crowning of the Abyss as eternal darkness...
would never be able to return.

This courageous conviction of the Poet
accompanied as well by the incursion
of sorrow...of repentance...
and the wounded egotism
   in the hearts of the Greek People
was not at all to the Gods` taste.

From the heights of Olympus to which they`d climbed
to avoid any likely charity
which would have been sought for them by existence on Earth 
we suggested that after Odysseus
had returned to Ithaca he be the one
to carry on the massacre of Troy
with the same clamorous rhythms
of Catastrophe and Demolition
so that Poets of the Future
would be able to Invent
a likely abduction -- with darker causes --
of Penelope.


During the years he was away from Penelope
Odysseus received quite a number of sexual proposals
from the most beautiful women in Greece.

And as he thanked wholeheartedly
these anonymous Goddesses of Greek temptation
for their silken invitations to passion
Odysseus said that he would respond
as soon as the Universal Community was informed
about the Trojan War.

It had a right to know no matter what
how he went to Troy embodied in the very tempests
not in order to provoke heartache and Catastrophe
but simply to vent the anger of Greece
over its lost honor
saying it had entered the wrong Soul.

The Universal Community however
was informed solely by the Poets
and even then very tardily.

So then Odysseus
the virtuoso mercenary of Glory
ended with the thought
that if he had been truly loved
by the most beautiful women in Greece
he would have emerged from this History
utterly without glory.

From what can be seen
this story would always be defined
by the Poets alone
and these Erotic tales would simply
be called poetic.

The Universal Community
would deem them unbelievable.


Today the season called autumn begins.

As the leaves began to fall
and me an Old Man
my thoughts also began to fall
and I would like to speak this once
to autumn -- about autumn.

It doesn`t continue on from here...

I am abandoned, one after the other,
like the World
by the Grand hallucinations of Genesis
the metaphors...
  the allegories...
    the symbols...

They return to Greece with life
and leave me with death in Troy.

That is why I move along behind them
to see at long last one clean day
bringing thus this Epic to a definitive close
and with Classical diction find a measure of happiness
because Happiness is the Divine Cause
even for its own Beginning.

 But Im afraid
that for the Modern critics of the Future
to whom
autumn may arrive
as eternal dark
my words about autumn -- to autumn
as if nothing was going on
might then be incorporated into a chapter
of the Iliad or the Odyssey
and thus its better if... I grow still.


Translation by


  1. Ana Maria Pujol --- Obrigada querido Deus Grego.Beijossss

  2. Táňa Rezková --- Elias Foukis-fantastic-congratulations!!!I love it!!♥