translated by Mina Karavanta 

...translating Ashbery into Greek

Life –how wonderful it is–
follows our traces
and slowly fades far away
in the background of our dreams.

"Of our dreams.
There is always a way
to talk about them
as if thei secret meaning
had been revealed to you only,
and yet this only
tersely shows
how little it holds."

In the beginning everything seems easy–
almost inevitable.
On a beach, for instance,
with Hardy's poems in her hands,
whispering meaningfully in her ear:

"I have lived with Shades so long,"
and later in the hotel room
after the last embarrassing assurances:
"How tender is this candle...
It bids farewell to the night
drying away its tears."

Is there any point in confessing our pact?
In saying or writing that
"love may be no more
than an exchange of vocabularies",
when the emptiness that befalls us
is already mirrored in the shattered glimmer
of your eyes?

The celestial darkness of the book
and the angst of the transparent man
in a translated world.

"Words do not fear words;
they fear the poem."
The end is always the beginning
of a new grandiose disavowal.

  Affirmation, Dedalus Press, Dublin 2007

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