Sunday, 6 January 2008

Radio Akritas: The Sovereign Sun

Πολλά δε θέλει ο άνθρωπος
να 'ν' ήμερος να 'ναι άκακος
λίγο φαΐ, λίγο κρασί
Χριστούγεννα κι Ανάσταση

There’s nothing much a man may want
but to be quiet and innocent
a little food, a little wine
at Christmas and at Easter time

(Odysseus Elytis: The Sovereign Sun)

In my post Nothing in Excess, I referred to Odysseus Elytis’ poem The Sovereign Sun (Ο Ήλιος ο Ηλιάτορας). The poem has in fact been set to music by Dimitris Layios (pictured) and in Radio Akritas I have made three songs available from the cycle. They are:

1. Κάμποι της Σαλονίκης (Wheat fields of Salonika) – sung by Nikos Dimitratos.
2. Πολλά δε θέλει ο άνθρωπος (There’s nothing much a man may want – the full translation of this song is in the Excess post). I dedicate the song, also sung by Nikos Dimitratos, to Stavros at My Greek Odyssey; and
3. Όμορφη και παράξενη πατρίδα (Beautiful and strange homeland) – sung by George Dalaras.

Beautiful and strange homeland
I’ve never seen a homeland more strange and beautiful
Than this one that fell to my lot
Throws a line to catch fish catches birds instead
Sets up a boat on land garden in the waters
Weeps kisses the ground emigrates
Becomes a pauper gets brave
Tries for a stone gives up
Tries to carve it works miracles
Goes into a boat reaches the ocean
Looks for revolutions wants tyrants


Σταυρος said...

Φιλε μου,

Σε ευχαριστω παρα πολυ για αυτα που γραφεις. Η Πολι και αλλες χαμενες πατριδες που ζουνε αξεχαστες στην γενικη μας μνημη, σαν Ελληνες, θα ειναι παντοτε δικα μας γιατι δεν μπορει κανεις να τα ξεριζοσει απο την Ελληνικκη καρδια. Να σε καλα.

john akritas said...

Everything you say is true. Last year I got chatting to this Greek guy in a supermarket over here. He was in his early twenties. I asked him where he was from. He said Mikra Asia, though he now lived in Komotini. After three-four generations, and having never been there, the guy still saw himself as being from Mikra Asia.

I wouldn't be much of a Greek if I wasn't interested or concerned about the fate of our capital city, the centre of our civilisation for a thousand years.