Nikos Violaris

Translated from the Greek by Sarah McCann


But the twilight unexpected
truce in the midst of
heart-rending civil war
and no smile
no tear
only a comic emptiness
without pain
or dreams
a comic
—according to convention—

Incessant Light

The incessant light
of the cold inner room
gave into oblivion
my heart
how do you endure
the day’s exile
as you never learned whether pain
is a path or a place
just the swaying
of a naked tree
and loveless.

Light’s Aim

Light's aim
isn’t daybreak
but the killing
of night
the sudden dawn
of sinful things
the anchor of pure night-
bodies sunk
light’s aim
is ashes
blossoms and trees
which dwindle into
dead yellow leaves

Decisive Horizon

Nothing more sure
than this wanderer
who splits the night.

Nothing more sure
since he’ll soon
be eclipsed by the landscape
and the birds
will have forgotten
his shadow.

Nikos Violaris was born in Athens in 1985. He studied at Athens University in the Department of History and Archaeology. He has written two collections of poems, Beyond the Day (2005) and Nocturnal Rays (2009). Poems of his, have appeared in various literary magazines (Lexi, Planodion, Poiitiki, Ta Poiitika, Teflon, Poeticanet, Words Without Borders, Osiris). They have also appeared in the anthologies Novelty Within or Beyond Language, (Gavrielides, 2009), 30 to 30 (Koinonia ton Dekaton, 2010), Poètes Grecs du 21e Siècle (Le Mies des Anges, 2013) and Cross Section (Erato, 2015).

Sarah McCann has been a Writing Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has worked around the world. She has been published and has work forthcoming in such journals as The Bennington Review, Margie, The Broken Bridge Review, Midway Journal, and The South Dakota Review. Her poetry has also appeared in Thom Tammaro’s anthology, Visiting Frost: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Robert Frost and an anthology, edited by Heather McHugh, published by the Academy of American Poets, New Voices. Her translations from the Modern Greek into English have been recognized by the Fulbright Foundation with a grant and published in such anthologies and journals as Austerity Measures, Words Without Borders, Poetry International, and World Literature Today. She has also had the pleasure to edit a collection of poetry from the late American poet Robert Lax, Tertium Quid.

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