Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Giorgos Seferis


Giorgos (George) Seferis was the first Greek to win a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Background information:

-Born in 1900 in Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey).
-Moved to Athens in 1914.
-His father was a professor at the University of Athens and a translator.
-He studied at the University of Paris in 1918, then he moved back to Athens and worked for the Royal Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
-His job allowed for him to work in Albania and England.
-Smyrna was taken over by Turkey in 1922 and The Great Fire of Smyrna destroyed much of the city. Him and his family became exiles.
-Germany invades Greece in 1941 and so he left with the government in exile. 
-They went to Egypt, Italy, and South Africa, until they were able to return in 1944.
-He became a Greek ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1957. 
-Won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1963.

Main Influences for his poetry:
-His father
-Exile
-Travel 
-Greece's history and ancient poets (Homer)

A link to his poem:

Upon a Line of Foreign Verse

Seferis' poem has many links to The Odyssey. I found this drawing/diagram online, it shows some of the obstacles Odysseus faces on his journey back home.


Analysis:

-The first line is the foreign line from a sonnet by the French poet Joachim du Bellay. This causes Seferis' to reflect on this line and how it relates to him.
-References The Odyssey by Homer (A Greek epic poem about Odysseus trying to return to his home, Ithaca, after the Trojan war. It takes him ten years to get back to Ithaca.)
-the "love" he is explaining is his love for his home, which calls to him.
-The Cyclops, Sirens, Scylla, and Charybdis are obstacles Odysseus faces. In the poem, they are used to show how Odysseus wants them to "banish" these obstacles from their memory so that he is seen as a normal person.
-"eyes red" also normalizes Odysseus
-He is normalized in order to provide hope that Seferis can be like Odysseus. That he will survive and return home like Odysseus did.
-"Alien land" references Seferis' exile and displays feelings of loneliness and a longing to return to his home.
-"warmth of his house, and the dog grown old waiting at the door" further depicts his yearning to return home (Smyrna), similar to Odysseus wanting to return to his home (Ithaca).
-"as it was spoken three thousands years ago" bridges ancient Greece to modern Greece.
-The sailors that "sing to me in my childhood the song of Erotokritos" (Erotokritos is a book written by Kornaros, a Cretan poet, during the 17th century) displays another link to ancient Greece and that he misses his home.
-"unruffled blue sea" refers to Greece and offers hope as Odysseus gives him this beautiful sea during winter.
-Odysseus serves as a guiding figure and comparison to Seferis as he copes with exile. He thinks  Odysseus can teach him "to build a wooden horse so I [Seferis] may win his own Troy".
-Troy could be symbolic of Seferis one day returning to his home or making a new home in a foreign land.

Themes:
-Exile
-Hope
-ancient Greece
-home 


"For I think that poetry is necessary to this modern world in which we are afflicted by fear and disquiet. Poetry has its roots in human breath - and what would we be if our breath were diminished?" -Giorgos Seferis' Nobel Banquet Speech, 1963


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Have you heard the house?
It shakes and sways,
Pulses and pounds,
like a heart of stone.

It still beats.

The windows steamed with hot breath,
The breath of summer.
Then crystallized with cool breath,
The breath of winter.

Inhaling those who hear it.
Exhaling, for those who have not been near it.

Its doors creak and clamor,
Painted with pale pasts.
Inside, are florescent futures
Along with revived lives.
And still,
the doors are always open.

Spiced cloves steep aloft,
after simmering in their froth.
Sauntering from the house,
and along the deep corners of your mind.

Home to scents, seasons, and sounds.
Overflowing and exposing,
Pouring forth its essence of life.
It stands tall among dreary days
Amid the flames, floods, and fury.

Now, have you heard the house of life?


Then, why do you never visit!




Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The world may think I am clay.
To be shaped and formed
Molded to its ideals.
Conform.

Yet, I am stronger than clay.

It may think I am stone.
Heavy enough to throw with accuracy.
To let me drown.
Sink down to its
rivers,
lakes,
oceans,
level.

Yet, I am lighter than stone.

It may think I am cork.
Able to be punctured and poked
with words and assumptions.
Float along traditional paths.
To wield intoxicated dreams
sealed
and
hidden.

Yet, I am sturdier than cork.

I am not clay, stone, nor cork.
I am not material.
I am flesh and feeling.
I am thought and sense.
I am underestimated by the world.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Crumpled leaves scrape the dewy road
Petrichor wafts through the air
I follow the scent and the sound.

Leading me along this path-
Petrichor, crumpled leaves.
Wandering and waiting.

Frozen wind pushes me forward
I try to keep up,
But I never can.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Outside my bedroom window,
alluring noises beckon to me.
The wind howls.
The wolves howl.
The whistles howl.
They echo and linger,
these elements of wildness and freedom.

Laughter and yelling dispelling the silent air.
Wind whimpering from branch to branch.
Skateboards rustling down my street.
Wolves whining with wilted frames.
Owls hooting nature warnings.
Whistles piping from foggy trains.
Engines hot and roaring,
tearing through the heat of asphalt cities.

Forcing me outside-
inch by inch,
sound by sound.

Pulling me towards the world:
Curiosity calling.
Wind, wolves, whistles.
Sirens, sounds, surrounding.

Friday, March 23, 2018

One tear fell.
Was it for me?
Or you?
I can never tell.

Although, it could have been for other things:
The despair that eats at me.
Maybe, that one rotten grape.
The bird with its broken wing.

Perhaps, the last hour of sunlight.
The silence that speaks to me.
That shattered relationship.
All of the ones who never awake from the night.

Possibly, the boy writing poems of pain.
That fear that incessantly nips at me.
Or the yelling in the next room.
The brown hills and lack of rain.

Maybe, it was the impoverished streets.
The glances of shame thrown to me.
A picture frame collecting dust.
That smoldering fire without heat.

How about the unspoken words?
The lost feeling that always finds me.
Those sparks flying from a dying flame.
The people who move in herds.

It could be his intoxicated sighs.
This regret that simply stares through me.
The music heard, but never listened to.
Their sunken eyes.

What about those unopened shutters?
The loneliness that befriends me.
Frost bitten foods.
The toy left in the gutter.

Maybe, it was that penny on the asphalt.
The mirror that shuns me.
That unread book screaming from the shelf.
All of the traffic at a halt.

Could it have been the nights without dreams?
This longing that hangs onto me.
Those burnt bits at the bottom of the oven.
The things that break at the seams.

It could have been for anything,
everything, and
nothing.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Here is a bunny photo to brighten up everyone's day! I found this baby bunny relaxing on a pile of wood in my backyard.


Friday, February 23, 2018

We've grown up in these barren lands.
Now, it's time to part ways                                                                  like the red sea.
                                  You'll
                                           be
                                              two
                                                  steps
                                                      ahead.

I'll follow
among this
heavy




dust.

Breathing won't be easy,
                                                                                                                         Nor will leading.
I'll
                                    reach
                                                                  out
                                                                                           for

                                                                                                                       you.
                                         Only to be blown back
                                                 by your tornado
                                                   filled with
                                                        success and
                                                            solitude.

No     

     d
 i
r                         
                                  e
                                  c
                             t                           
                               i               
                               o
n


or

                      r                                                         
                e
           c
      o
l

l
  e
     c
         t
            i
              o
                   n.

Desert                                                     and                                                        dirt


 for
                                                                       

                                                                                          miles.

I'll be left to wander with the immense somber sand.

                         Sw
                              ir     
                           li
                               ng,

                                                         Farther
                           
And
                                                                                Farther
                                                                     
And
                                                                                                      Farther

And
                                                                                                                          Further


                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                 
                                                               


                                                                                                                                      You'll be.

             

                                                                       
                                         
                                                 
                                                                                               
                                                                                     






     

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Do you still see the sun?
Even though our days are nearly done. 
Each and every set and rise,
A step closer to our demise.

Do you see a rising sun? 

When it brightens in the morning, 
With all of its colors soaring.
Emerging from the night,
To spread its glorious light.

Awakening sleeping towns,
It peers into every room around.
Signaling a brand new day: 
Opportunities, chances, hope. 


Or


Do you see a setting sun?

When it slips into darkness,
Sending all of the colors amiss.
Leaving only lonely traces,
Of words and forgotten faces. 

Stores close.
Parties stop.
Poems end. 
Everyone returns to their solitude.

Ending another day, another poem:
Finished. Closed. Goodbye. 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Experiment #5: In Medias Res



The black waters enwrap her in its ice cold grip. Its cool touch surging through her veins while the sting of its chilling breath drag her farther and farther down to the depths of its empty stomach. Forcing her eyes open, she struggles and swims away from the darkness towards a faint light above her. She pushes away the frigid waters until the scintillating light replaces the ocean’s glacial grip with the searing stare of fire. These glowing orbs of flames float against a bleak backdrop like lily pads serenely gliding over sober waters. Time suddenly seems to slow as only for this short instant a sense of tranquility flows through her.
When she reaches the surface, however, the scene is chaos. She gulps up all the air she can, only to inhale thick gray smoke. Coughing with disgust and worry, she hecticly swims in circles for Oliver. We jumped from the same spot on the bluff. He must be around here somewhere, she wonders. “Oliver!” She yells through the surrounding wall of flames. “Oliver! Where are you?” She screams with squinted eyes through the heavy smoke and debris.
She dives beneath the water, evading the raging inferno above her. After a few seconds she emerges to hear with immense relief the distant roar of her name. She whips her head around to see Oliver frantically flailing and hurriedly shouting for her. “Over here!” She calls out to him and signals that they swim to shore.
She flings herself on to the sandy shore of ease with Oliver following behind her. “What happens now?” he whispers with sorrow. “We rest.” She responds mildly through tired eyes. They lay there soaked in the muffled dark with soft sand and broken shells intertwined between them. The waves brushing along the shoreline as if Oliver’s and her life hadn’t changed forever. As if the world was not at war and all was in perfect harmony. Drifting somewhere between a state of awake and asleep, her mind lingers on those glowing fiery orbs amid the bitter ocean. Time slows once more as she perishes into an unknown sleep.
 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Experiment #4



From far away the world glows
Like dying stars harboring woes
Its hidden beauty beyond the mist
Softly, it speaks to the observer

Calling,
Captivating,
Alluring,
It whispers in the wind:

"Come forth, Come forth,
All who view me from afar.
Those that crave adventure.
That wish to explore above silver skies 
And below the deepest oceans."

Search for this buried world
It exists to whoever can grasp it
It lives and breathes the air we need.  

Giorgos Seferis