Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Postcards vs Reports

After all the preparations of the last weeks, the epic of my encounters with the Beast of Bureaucracy, and the support of really good heros (such as my students), the day of the cultural event at the University came and passed like the firework of a comet. Now, that I am preparing reports about it, I find the frozen margins of the descriptions allowed in such texts limited and not recording in reality the genuine outcome which I enjoyed. In fact, it felt good because it brought up in public a positive private process of learning. My favorite part was
the second, in which my students recited poetry and gave their own impressions. Olga and Samer recited Seferis (Παιδί, Ευριπίδης Αθηναίος) while Rita, Luma, Diana, Fadi, Katerina recited Elytis (Ημερολόγιο ενός Αθέατου Απριλίου), and Lina, Katerina and Ioanna recited Varveris (Οι Δικοί μας στα Ξένα). Moreover Luma and Diana gave their accounts concerning the class. It felt wonderful to see them reciting in Greek in a way that contained both the accent of their foreign descent but also the correct tone of the feeling in the new language, fully comprehensible by the greek-speaking part of the audience. I thought of them, later perhaps, in days of pressure and confusion, in days of relaxation and bliss, to find some afternoon shelter in the magic of the images of this poetry, using their voices in full maturity, recreating the garden of Cavafy's poem "Νέοι της Σιδώνας", so useless for the crowds, so important for the one who does it. The arabic translations, to the extent i could follow them were precise and so honey-dipped melodical.
The other part that I enjoyed a lot, was the generosity of Petros, to come with his lute, although he is so shy and so child-hearted, and sing for us. He picked up emotional songs, which they gave me hard time in translating: mantinades are rythmic and short, so the english part should contain some of the rythm, while "Stars do not tell me off" is based on a slow development of the theme of "love's labour lost" through repetition. He disappeared after the performance, quite early (he claimed he had work at the embassy), so I had to call him in order to thank him. Late at night, he sent me a complimentary message, praising my work written in a well shaped "mantinada". I replied to him by doing the same; I am good in 15-syllable verse after so much medieval and renaissance poetry I have studied.
Here is his part:
Τραγούδια από τον Πέτρο

1)ΑΣΤΡΑ ΜΗ ΜΕ ΜΑΛΩΝΕΤΕ
ΑΣΤΡΑ ΜΗ ΜΕ ΜΑΛΩΝΕΤΕ
ΑΣΤΡΑ ΜΗ ΜΕ ΜΑΛΩΝΕΤΕ
ΠΟΥ ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΩ ΤΗ ΝΥΚΤΑ.
ΓΙΑΤΙ ΕΧΩ ΠΟΝΟ ΣΤΗ ΚΑΡΔΙΑ
ΓΙΑΤΙ ΕΧΩ ΠΟΝΟ ΣΤΗ ΚΑΡΔΙΑ
ΓΙΑΤΙ ΕΧΩ ΠΟΝΟ ΣΤΗ ΚΑΡΔΙΑ
ΚΑΙ ΒΓΗΚΑ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΝ ΕΙΠΑ..
ΑΣΤΡΑ ΜΗ ΜΕ ΜΑΛΩΝΕΤΕ ΠΟΥ ΤΡΑΓΟΥΔΩ ΤΗ ΝΥΚΤΑ..
ΣΤΑ ΑΣΤΡΑ ΘΑ ΠΩ ΤΟΝ ΠΟΝΟ ΜΟΥ
ΣΤΑ ΑΣΤΡΑ ΘΑ ΠΩ ΤΟΝ ΠΟΝΟ ΜΟΥ
ΣΤΑ ΑΣΤΡΑ ΘΑ ΠΩ ΤΟΝ ΠΟΝΟ ΜΟΥ ΠΟΥ ΔΕΝ ΤΟΝ ΜΑΡΤΥΡΟΥΝΕ.
ΠΟΥ ΕΧΟΥΝΕ ΥΠΟΜΟΝΗ ΠΟΥ ΕΧΟΥΝΕ ΥΠΟΜΟΝΗ
ΠΟΥ ΕΧΟΥΝΕ ΥΠΟΜΟΝΗ ΩΡΕΣ ΚΑΙ ΜΕ ΑΚΟΥΝΕ..
ΣΤΑ ΑΣΤΡΑ ΘΑ ΠΩ ΤΟΝ ΠΟΝΟ ΜΟΥ ΠΟΥ ΔΕΝ ΤΟ ΜΑΡΤΥΡΟΥΝΕ..
.ΔΕΝ ΕΤΥΧΕ ΦΕΓΓΑΡΙ ΜΟΥ ΔΕΝ ΕΤΥΧΕ ΦΕΓΓΑΡΙ ΜΟΥ
ΔΕΝ ΕΤΥΧΕ ΦΕΓΓΑΡΙ ΜΟΥ ΝΑ ΡΘΕΙΣ ΣΤΟ ΧΑΛΙ ΠΟΥ `ΜΑΙ
ΚΑΙ ΕΧΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΔΙΚΙΟ ΝΑ ΡΩΤΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΕΧΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΔΙΚΙΟ ΝΑ ΡΩΤΑΣ
ΚΑΙ ΕΧΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΔΙΚΙΟ ΝΑ ΡΩΤΑΣ ΓΙΑΝΤΑ ΣΤΕΝΟΧΩΡΟΥΜΑΙ
ΔΕΝ ΕΤΥΧΕ ΦΕΓΓΑΡΙ ΜΟΥ ΝΑ `ΡΘΕΙΣ ΣΤΟ ΧΑΛI ΠΟΥ `ΜΑΙ.
ΕΧΑΣΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΓΑΠΗ ΜΟΥ ΕΧΑΣΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΓΑΠΗ ΜΟΥ
ΕΧΑΣΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΓΑΠΗ ΜΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΣΥ ΡΩΤΑΣ ΦΕΓΓΑΡΙ
ΓΙΑΝΤΑ ΤΙΣ ΝΥΚΤΕΣ ΔΕ ΜΠΟΡΕΙ ΓΙΑΝΤΑ ΤΙΣ ΝΥΚΤΕΣ ΔΕ ΜΠΟΡΕΙ
ΓΙΑΝΤΑ ΤΙΣ ΝΥΚΤΕΣ ΔΕ ΜΠΟΡΕΙ Ο ΥΠΝΟΣ ΝΑ ΜΕ ΠΑΡΕΙ
ΕΧΑΣΑ ΤΗΝ ΑΓΑΠΗ ΜΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΥ ΡΩΤΑΣ ΦΕΓΓΑΡΙ..

Ah! Stars do not tell me off for singing at night
Coz I have pain in my heart and I decided to reveal it
To the stars I will confess my grief
That they do not give it away,
That are patient enough to listen to me for long hours.
To the stars I will confess my grief
That they do not give it away.

Oh moon, you have been lucky enough not to feel the misery that I experience now
And you are right in asking why I suffer
I lost my love, I lost it
I lost my love and you, oh moon, you keep asking
why I cannot have an hour’s sleep at night
Why I cannot get an hour’s sleep at night
I lost my love and you, oh moon, you keep asking

2)ΜΑΝΤΙΝΑΔΕΣ ΤΗΣ ΑΓΑΠΗΣ.

-Σ`ΑΓΑΠΗΣΑ ΟΠΩΣ ΑΓΑΠΑ Ο ΗΛΙΟΣ ΤΟ ΦΕΓΓΑΡΙ
ΠΟΥ ΠΑΝΤΟΤΕ ΤΟΥ ΔΙΝΕΙ ΦΩΣ ΧΩΡΙΣ ΠΟΤΕ ΝΑ ΠΑΡEI.

I have loved you in the way the sun loves the moon
Giving his light always and never asking it back.

-ΑΝ ΔΕΝ ΥΠΗΡΧΑΝ ΟΝΕΙΡΑ ΝΑ ΒΡΙΣΚΟΜΑΙ ΜΑΖΙ ΣΟΥ
ΘΑ ΕΙΧΕ ΣΒΗΣΕΙ ΑΠΟ ΤΟ ΜΥΑΛΟ Ο ΧΡΟΝΟΣ ΤΗ ΜΟΡΦΗ ΣΟΥ.

If there were no dreams of me standing by your side
Time would have managed to erase your figure from my mind.

-ΔΕΝ ΞΕΡΕΙΣ ΤΙ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΝΑ ΞΥΠΝΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΝΑ ΠΟΝΕΙ Η ΚΑΡΔΙΑ ΣΟΥ
ΝΑ ΘΕΣ ΝΑ ΔΕΙΣ Ο,ΤΙ ΑΓΑΠΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΑΥΤΟ ΝΑ `ΝΑΙ ΜΑΚΡΙΑ ΣΟΥ..

You have no idea how it feels to wake up and feel your heart in pain
To yearn for seeing all that you love, while it keeps being far away.

-ΚΑΘΕ ΒΡΑΔΙΑ ΠΡΙΝ ΚΟΙΜΗΘΩ ΣΤΗ ΣΚΕΨΗ ΜΟΥ ΣΕ ΒΑΝΩ
ΚΑΙ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΓΛΥΚΑ ΚΑΙ ΟΜΟΡΦΑ ΤΑ ΟΝΕΙΡΑ ΠΟΥ ΚΑΝΩ..

Every night, before I sleep, I set you in my thoughts
And, therefore, are sweet the dreams that I dream

The second group of brief songs consists of mantinades. Mantinades is a very characteristic genre of improvised verse on the island of Crete and few other areas. It manages to encompass the magic of the instance. The singer-poet, by using very few allowed rhythmic tracks, attempts to transmit a whole set of feelings in two verses he creates on the spot. From a literary, academic point of view, it is interesting that in this tradition the poets use the 15-syllable long verse which became typical for our poetry and folk songs since the Byzantine era (10th Cent. A.D.). There are many groups of mantinades, according to their theme. Many of them greet the group of gathered friends, others congratulate the bride and the groom, others describe the pain of separation, migration or even death etc. Τhat day Petros picked for us few, around the theme of love and its sweet sufferings.

Then, during the screening of the film I was gathering the posters from the boards, rolling them, and thinking again of Cavafy and his "Βασιλεύς Δημήτριος", with the actor dressing off his performance cloths and entering the normal pace of life.

Τώρα γράφω κάρτες στους φίλους, και σκέφτομαι ότι χάρη σε αυτό το διαβολομηχάνημα γράφω όλο και λιγότερο αληθινά γράμματα, ίσως οι εορταστικές κάρτες να είναι η πιο πεισματάρικη εκδήλωση της παλιάς μου μανίας με τα χαρτιά. Περίπου όπως οι κάρτες που λάβαινε η μαμά από τη θεία Αθηνά, τόσες δεκαετίες μετανάστιδα στο Μπάφφαλο των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών, τέτοιες μέρες. Υγείαν έχομεν και υγείαν επιθυμούμε..

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post was such a wonderful read, i was mesmerized by the full account of events...leaving no margins for any other comments : ) that i can barely add anything but that the recreated garden was so dense of scent and odor to the extent of flourishing unprecedented explorations inside of me.

Diana

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed.. It left us no space for words, I didn't actually concentrate alot when you recited the poems Petro sang that day, but now as I read them, I really like them, and I wrote them down as well.. That day, December 6 2006, is a day that shall remain in our memories, as long as shall we live..
LUMA

5:29 PM  
Blogger Vas said...

Although I wish I had forced the ladies of the dancing group to enter a judo wrestling ring, to keep spirits higher :))
Thanks diana, kai Luma perastika :)

5:37 PM  

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