Eftychia Panayiotou

Eftychia Panayiotou

Eftychia Panayiotou (born Cyprus, 1980) is a poet, copy editor, poetry translator and literary reviewer. She studied Philosophy in Athens and Modern Greek in London and is currently completing her PhD in Modern Greek female poetry.

Her first poetry book, megas kipouros, was published in 2007. Her second one, Mavri Moralina, published in 2010, was shortlisted for the Cyprus State Prize and the “Diavazo” Poetry Prize and won the third prize for Best Book by a Young Poet in Greece. The French Centre national du live in collaboration with the Greek National Book Centre has endowed her with the Encouragement Scholarship for young writers.

Her poetry has appeared in English, German, Italian, Spanish and Croatian. Panayiotou has translated into Greek Anne Sexton’s Love Poems (Melani Publishers, 2010) as well as works of other American poets, such as Anne Carson, Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer and Ravi Shankar.

The Sea that Binds

First we love our dead.
First it’s those we’ll remember, if we have to remember,
as our childhood eyes remember an explosion.

Time; bomb disposal expert; hand that comes
and smudges the eyelids like a poem.

I talk to my mother, I write her “sea”.
Words on paper wash into a map.
Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt
-some unfulfilled dream-
but what bars our way to the Canal
is not black smoke;
There must be something that awakes a frightened man
from the slumber of the dead.

No one knows what really happened
except cold memory or naked revelation.

For now humanity is a sound,
scratched glass,
call it an attempt for freedom.

© Translation from Greek: Philippos Philippou

Η θάλασσα που ενώνει

Πρώτα αγαπάμε τους νεκρούς μας.
Πρώτα αυτούς θα θυμηθούμε αν πρέπει να θυμόμαστε,
όπως τα παιδικά μας μάτια θυμούνται μία έκρηξη.

Ο χρόνος· πυροτεχνουργός· χέρι που έρχεται και
μουντζουρώνει τα βλέφαρα σαν ποίημα.

Μιλάω στη μητέρα μου, της γράφω «θάλασσα»,
οι λέξεις στο χαρτί βγάζουν σε χάρτη.
Αλγερία, Τυνησία, Αίγυπτος
–κάποιο όνειρο ανεκπλήρωτο–
μα ό,τι μας φράζει το δρόμο προς τη διώρυγα
δεν είναι ένας μαύρος καπνός·
κάτι ξυπνάει τον τρομαγμένο άνθρωπο
από το λήθαργο των πεθαμένων.

Τι έγινε στ’ αλήθεια κανείς δεν το γνωρίζει
παρά μόνο η ψυχρή μνήμη ή η γυμνή αποκάλυψη.

Προς το παρόν η ανθρωπότητα είναι ήχος,
γδαρμένο γυαλί,
πες την απόπειρα για ελευθερία.

Poetry in this post: © Eftychia Panayiotou
Published with the permission of Eftychia Panayiotou