Yannis Yfantis

Yannis Yfantis

Yannis Yfantis was born according to his willing in Raina (a valley of Etolia) thousands of years ago. He studied agriculture, cattle-breeding, the art of riding as well as astronomy and the art of weaving*.

When he was 22 years old he left his studies in Law in order to study undiverted the book of the World.

His published books are: Manthraspenta (1977), Mystics of the Orient (1982), Elder Edda (1983), The Mirror of Proteus (1986), Signs of Immortal Memory (1987), Poems Embroideries on the Skin of the Devil (1988), Temple of Cosmos (1996), The Garden of Poetry (2000), Archetypes (2001), The Ideogram of the Snake (2003), Love Unconquered in the Fight (2004), Transformations of Zero (2009), Under the Icon of the Stars (2013).

Many of his poems have been translated in English, French, Bulgarian, Italian, Russian, Spanish and, recently, in Arabic, Persian, Chinese, German, Finnish, and Serbian.

Although he believes that the books are made by themselves, he received, unexpectedly, for them, the Cavafis Prize for 1995 in Cairo.

* Yfantis means weaver


I search for the sea-god Proteus. They told me they’ve seen him in sea caves of the Akarnanean islands. I need a ship and an able crew. Enthusiasm is desperately absent from people and it’s so difficult to bear the divine alone.


Oh you my brother of paradox. The storm here is your heavy curtain but as I cross the rainbow’s arch here I am again in ancient Aegeis.

Paths closed by light. Deers arrive and lick my hands. On their foreheads my lost oracle that was erased by people’s knives.

On the path of the crag the ancient goat. A naked shepherd of Thira ascends. He saw the fish with the Sun’s stamp mirrored on Hera’s wet cave.

All the Moon’s phases make a fence and only the waning crescent leaves the door open. I stumble upon the still hot ashes of a god who has just ascended.

He is shepherding here fireflies and crickets but a happy message came from the Swan to hurry quickly to Sirius’s threshing-floors to rock bronze’s sleep.

The Sky’s eye is the Sun and his body the Sea. It approaches. His big wave roars and ejaculates foam inside the Earth’s cave.

Oh you my brother of paradox. The storm here is your heavy curtain but as I cross the rainbow’s arch here I am again in ancient Aegeis.


To the Lyvikon Sea I haven’t gone since the time that Aegeis was an all-green mountain and the gods had me as a shepherd to the gold-horned goat.

(They say she was a goddess and she jumped over the crags during storms. But I don’t know of these things and I only saw one thing – in the deep dark she was shining as if she was a lightning the gold-horned goat.)

To the Lyvikon sea I will go one night to drown when my screw is turned and I’ll be searching on the seabed (holding binoculars and torch) for my first home.


Skyron who was hid himself amongst the rocks.
Ipparhus who hid his treasure of stars
and the ecliptic line of the sea shore.

What seas what shores what grey rocks o my daughter.

Stone garden and its fruits these pebbles.
The waves rock the idol of the Sun
(like my head on a tray)
drugging to the bottom a net made of light.
Pebbles the crop of the waves.
And the stones crocalising in the caress of sea.

Stones that the fisherman from Thira caught,
the painter Polygnotos
the hagiographer Panselinos.
Stones that the sea washes with its grace and shine.

Here my spleen of my other forgotten stoned life.
Here my gall, my kidneys, my liver.
Here my green eye and the other that is black.
Here my nails (shells, limpets). And my teeth.
Pebbles in the light. My stoned brain.
And the crystal here of my heart.
Talismans hanging from the rope of the waves, in front of the
       icon of the Sun.
Here the stoned yarn of my fate.


Lying on my back naked on the seashore
Tall granites, vertical,
in front of me, behind me and, on the left of me.
I must be in my divine tomb I think.
They put for me as grave goods the Sun and the Moon.
And left the sea beside me.
Waves are coming; they spread
their blossomed bodies on the seashore, up to my body.
And then the night covers me
with the branches of the stars.


Here I am between the Alpha of Athos and the Ωmega of Glarokavos.
Here I am again naked from everything.

Receive me oh sea
as I lie on my back in your cradle.
Dress me and undress me incessantly
with these full of coolness sheets of your waters.
Put on my wet hair the crown of the setting sun.
Pour on my body these fresh flowers of your foam.

And if I must go out of this diaphanous tomb of mine
I have the half moon to hold as my gold latch.

Here I am between the Alpha of Athos and the Ωmega of Glarokavos.
Here I am again naked from everything.
Ready at last to be dressed with the universe.
Oh sea receive the immortal mortal.

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Poetry in this post: © Yannis Yfantis
Published with the permission of Yannis Yfantis