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


Το ορφανό καράβι όταν είδε
ο Πάτροκλος να καίγετ’ απ’ τους Τρώες
σε κλάμα ξέσπασε. Και δεν θα σταματούσε
αν δεν του έδινε ο φίλος του Αχιλλεύς
τους Μυρμιδόνες του μαζί με τ’ άρματά του.

Για το κακό που πάθαιναν οι Έλληνες
έκλαιγ’ ο Πάτροκλος, αλλ’ όμως, κατά βάθος
-τό ’ξερ’ αυτό μονάχα ο ποιητής
τον ίδιο το χαμό του έκλαιγε. Που έφτανε.

Και που δεν ήρθε από τον Έκτορα, αλλά από τον Φοίβο.

Μετά ο Εύφορβος πισώπλατα τον χτύπησε.

Κι εκεί τον αποτέλειωσε ο Έκτωρ.

Κι έφευγεν η ψυχή του, όπως λέγ’ ο ποιητής,
κλαίγοντας προς τον Άδη απαρηγόρητη
που την ανάγκαζε η Μοίρα να χωρίζεται
απ’ το ανδρείο της κορμί πάνω στη νιότη.

PATROCLUS // When he saw the abandoned boat / being
burned by Trojan hands / Patroclus burst in tears. And / he
would not have stopped / if his friend Achilles had not given
him / his Myrmidons and all his armor. // It was for the evil
befalling the Greeks / that Patroclus wept, and yet, deep down
/ – and that was known only by the poet – / he wept for his own
end. Which was near. // And which came not from Hector, but
from Phoebus. // Euphorbus came then and struck him on his
back. // And there it was that Hector finished him. // And his
soul, as the poet says, was leaving towards Hades / weeping
inconsolably / for being forced by Fate to part / from its brave
body, in the bloom of youth.


Ζηλεύω των κοράκων και των γλάρων
τις κατοικίες σε σπηλιές βραχονησίδων μεσοπέλαγα.
Α τι αγέρας και τι δρόμοι της ψυχής λησμονημένοι.

PATHS OF THE SOUL // I envy, the houses of the ravens
and the seagulls, / in caves of rock islands, in the middle
of the sea. Ah, / winds and paths of the soul that have been


Κάθομαι κάτω απ’ το πουρνάρι δίχως σκέψεις.
Τάχα γιατί να σκέφτομαι; Τριγύρω μου υπάρχουν
ενσαρκωμένες σκέψεις τόσο όμορφες
που βλέποντάς τες με γεμίζουν ευφροσύνη.

under the kermes oak, / without thoughts. And / why should I
be thinking? Around me / are incarnated thoughts, so beautiful,
that / when I see them, / I get full / of delight.


Ούτε βλασταίνουνε, ούτε μαραίνονται· σπόροι της πέτρας.
Είναι στεγνά, είναι φτωχά, είναι ασήμαντα. Μα να
τ’ άγγιξαν τ’ ανθισμένα δάχτυλα της θάλασσας
και λάμπουν.

PEBBLES // They neither sprout, nor wither; / seeds of the
stone. They are dry, / poor, unimportant. But look, / they have
been touched by the sea’s blossomed fingers / and they are

For other contributions by Yannis Yfantis, please follow the links below:

Published with the permission of Yannis Yfantis & Ourania Yfanti