Stavros Girgenis

Stavros Girgenis

Stavros Girgenis was born in 1972. He lives and works in Thessaloniki, Greece. He holds a degree in Greek Literature with a specialization in Classics, a Master’s degree and a PhD in Ancient Greek Theatre. He has published numerous volumes of annotated translations of ancient Greek texts and he is in charge of the Modern Greek literature series of Zitros Publications, which already numbers 11 volumes. He is co-publisher of the quarterly journal Nóima (“Meaning”, 2017-) and he was the general editor of the journal Erato (2017-2020). He has published many volumes of translated foreign literature. He is also a poet and he has published several collections of poetry, the latest of which, the Fabulae (2022), is a joint creation with José Antonio Moreno Jurado, a Spanish poet and Hellenist. A selection of his poems, under the title Tinta, la luz (2019), was translated into Spanish by José Antonio Moreno Jurado and published in Seville by Padilla Libros. Poems of his have been translated also into Italian, English and German.

You will appear

You will appear
beyond the borders of silence
and I will know that it was you
who always spoke to me at night,
when the little boat throbs
upon the expectant heart of the waters
and the nearby island -together with its ruins-
prays to the Moon.

I’ll take you with me to the Acarnanian Mountains
– a grey chisel carving upon the sky its veins –
we’ll slowly climb together bends of paths.
These lead to the great sanctuary,
to the peaks where love has walked
as it descended to earth.

These peaks know how the ages blow,
they know that life ends as it begins,
in an ear of grain eclipsing the sunlight.

We will stay here forever.
Nothing less befits to us
than the height of indestructible bonds
which Fate imposes.

Each autumn

I will enclose my life again in a new circle.
Enchanted by the yellow incantation
the deciduous trees sing each autumn.
Each autumn in a different place.

I’m taking the shuttle,
I’m throwing it on the spine of the river
and I sail,
each autumn farther and farther.
Each autumn closer and closer to the sunset.

Α remembrance’s stream, uncertain like love,
pushes me to estuaries, to shores
that the Nereids have never seen.
Here lies Odysseus’ spear,
forgotten on gravel,
and the days of wandering
are piled up like sand.
I hear voices
sailing through the salty singing
of the Mediterranean.
I am not alone.
Ancestors have arrived here.
They are as old as the first rain
that filled with moments the cistern of time,
they are as old as the first note the stars sang.
They have already dragged
their ships to the shore
and they are surveying their Ionia.
Philosophy and music
are the pediment of their Word.
They are inviting me to join them.
They have prepared for me a shrine,
a temple to worship Wandering,
each autumn to glorify its statue.
Each autumn in a different place.
Each autumn closer and closer to the sunset.

Where have you gone?

Your sea chair stands empty under the sun
like time that has spent its flask
quenching the greedy heat.
Without your body to guide them,
the shadows are left orphaned.
The sea contemplates its departure,
now that it doesn’t see you.
A moment more and the wall in the courtyard
will complete its circular motion.
The passage will close.
The boat will not be able to find a woman
who will become its Lady of the waves.
Now the time is narrowing
like the spine of a book losing its leaves.
The anticipation is widening
like an eye pupil in the semidarkness
that will come to fill your place.


You have had yourself fenced in
with walls like scorpion’s claws,
while you emptied your people
into your poisonous sea,
dragging with you all your land like venom,
dragging with you all your history like a sail,
dragging with you all the blood and the cracks
that stain your mornings
with the earthy light of oblivion.
You have had yourself fenced in.
And yet, my city,
you have not preserved your virginity.

The roof of the Atreides

My watchful gaze has long dwelt on a roof
dominated by the rhythm of time.
Countless times I saw the octave of the sun
dazzling between clouds of melody
and in the night’s whisper
I discerned the moon’s unutterable language.
The swarm of the moments that go bright
and disappear into the forest
I admired it in the eyes of the wolves like stars.

Although I often suspected
that nothing would bring the king back to Argos,
not even the wave-torn manuscript of the sea,
nor the current that pushes the fate to find a shore.

It is not only an Aegean Sea
that separates the continents
and a perforated carpet of islands
is not enough to bridge the distances
of those who left their lives behind
like a relic forgotten in the chest of forgetfulness.

Poetry in this post: © Stavros Girgenis
Published with the permission of Stavros Girgenis