Byzantine triptych

Terrarium, the Ward’s Case

translated by Yannis Goumas

Scene: a room, at the back a three-unit carved
cabinet with a large mirror
you in the middle sitting in an armchair wearing an old printed dress
seen entire – face in a three-quarter profile
you are holding a five year-old child in your arms
balanced on your knees

You are beautiful, young, left-handed
you bend gently and kiss it,
and the brass heads bellow
the china cabinet – where you kept
the glassware –
young lovers frame you symmetrically
wingless since then
father on the right
uncle on your left looking somewhat sullen
equally tall young men and ancient like angels
to the back of you, golden curtains, a vase, the three sisters
level-headed, frontal, hierarchical
--their perspective, you’ll say—
nine o’clock p.m., flash, strong light, encaustic
ignorance, no chiaroscuros, but the shades
grow to gigantic dimensions, invisible, in secret, you can’t see them
they outline, paint the imminent crime
the crime already taking place

You didn’t know, I know, I didn’t know
the way from the annunciation to the deposition from the cross
a short, dark way
(trial, cross, pieta, burial)
everything happened quickly
and the chandelier in the drawing room centre
in vain did it light divine inspiration
in retrospect we see
when it’s too late – for everyone
and if I knew it I’d have told you not to feel sorry
not be so resolute
not keep on battling
innocent we are born and die
innocent and alone in disaster
despite of love
and there’s nothing you can do, no one can,
--neither can you, mother.
Neither can you

We are alone


    Terrarium, the Ward’s Case, Melani Publications, Athens, 2014

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