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Methysmeni varkoula means 'drunken little boat'. Stressed syllables are the second 'e' and the 'ou'.
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Lambros Porphyras Lámbros Porphýras (1879-1932)

Translated by Timothy AdesTimothy Ades


The Last Fairy-Tale

Along the pathway slowly, slowly,
they came, princesses, mermaids, riders
on horses, kings of far-off countries;

moved round my granny's bed and chanted,
between a pair of pallid tapers,
as singers do, some song or other.

Not one there was who loved my granny
and killed the dragon and the ogre
to bring her the immortal water.

Below, I saw my mother kneeling;
and, once upon a time, above us,
the archangelic wings were beating.


The Voyage

A sun-flooded day, an incredible dream! with Annoula:
a few good old friends and some girls and Annoula and I
got into a blue, drunken boat, methysmeni varkoula,
got in and went off and away to the Island of Joy.

Not a cloud and not even a puff of black smoke in the sky:
all around us were breasts full of love, there were throats snowy-white;
there was light on fair hair, on the sea: light was everywhere, light:
oh, but who ever got there at all, to the Island of Joy?

Oh, what do I care if we get there? Who cares? In the ringing
Gay laughter of friends, all life's troubles go laughing away.
We are rolled in infinity! Hark at Annoula's wild singing!
Looming somewhere, wherever, the faraway Island of Joy.


Stand Death a Drink

Drink in the dark tavern ashore, in the corner:
the first rains of autumn, returning, fall free.
Drink facing the crewmen, the men hunched from fishing,
men battered and tortured by hardship and sea.

Drink, make the heart carefree. If evil Misfortune
should walk through the door, smile and let the crone pass;
if new troubles come, let them join in your drinking;
come Death, you may peaceably fill up his glass.