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


What if Hesiod tells us
that the gold genus existed once
in a lost age. If you look well
if you search around you you’ll see
that all the genuses coexist here today. Don’t tell me
that you don’t often see around you, that you don’t meet
the silver genus of men. Don’t tell me
that you’ve never laid eyes upon
someone from the heroes’ genus. And even if
with difficulty you distinguish among the crowd
the iron ones from the bronze ones, it doesn’t matter.
All of them are here. And the poet
is looking for his friends
from that – the lost
Golden Age, as they call it.

© Translation by Ourania Yfanti


Although I come from the Country of the Blessed and I lived in the
Golden Age
I must bear life now
amongst the Iron Genus of the People.
I am a prisoner in a cement cave which sees to the precipice.
I see around the cube-shaped, cement mountains covered with this
iron forest of TV antennas.

Sometimes towards the evening as the opposite windows light up
one by one I remember those cards
of Tarot that Tomas Eliot
poured on a table there in his waste land
that has inhabitants sacks of straw.

Down the asphalt streets where iron animals run with feet their cyclic
erasers that erase the distances.

Very far from the country where Andeus touched the earth and took
from it an unconquerable power.
My only consolation is Ourania, five friends, and the full of life dead
who live in their books
and far there somewhere, the Acropolis’ hill-rock.

When I ascend it, I feel that I ascend the highest place of the world.


A bird, a bird, an owl
into the twilight there where Kekrops
after he gathers his goats, his oxen and his sheep, and puts them
in their corral
comes and sits beside me (and the owl on his shoulder):

So that the three of us partake in the delight
when we shall see in the night
the wisdom of the goddess assuming a visage and being
the full of stars (the consoling and compassionate)

© Translation by Ourania Yfanti


My typewriter on the table
under the sycamore.
It’s the first time I write in a room
so vast, having the sky as roof and hills around, forests,
roads, palaces of ants …
But what of course could I write when it so happens that
Cosmos is already written admirably on Cosmos.

© Translation by Ourania Yfanti

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Published with the permission of Yannis Yfantis