Turbine Turns

Poem By Andreas Embirikos

O ocean liner you sing and sail
Your body white and your funnels yellow
Tired of the anchorages' filthy waters
You who have loved the faraway sporades
You who have raised the highest rebel banners
You who sail boldly into the most dangerous waters
Hail, who have let yourself be ravished by the sirens
Hail, who have never feared the clashing rocks.

O ocean liner you sing and sail
Over the radiance of the sea with gulls
And I am in your cabin as you are in my heart.

O ocean liner you sing and sail
The breezes recognize us and unloose their hair
They run towards us and their folds are fluttering
Some of pure white and others deepest purple
Folds of heartbeats folds of joy
Of the betrothed and the newly married.

O ocean liner you sing and sail
Clamor before you here, whales in your wake
From deep inside you children draw beatitude
And from your face, affinity with you
And you resemble those you and I know
Because we know what whale means
And how it is that fishermen hunt fish.

O ocean liner you sing and sail
They take to flight who sneer at you in secret
Who sell your nets and feed themselves on fat
While you traverse the prairies of the ocean
And sail into harbors decked in plumes
And jewelry from the lovely mermaid
Who bears your kisses still upon her breast.

O ocean liner you sing and sail
Your smoke-trail is a strand of destiny
Uncoiling in the ether and ascending
Like the black locks of a voluptuous heavenly virgin
Or like the lyric cry of the muezzin
When your prow flashes on the waves
As the word of Allah flashes on the Prophet's lips
And in his hand his bright unerring sword.

O ocean liner you sing and sail
Along the tracks of deeply folded furrows
Which glitter in your wake like tracks of triumphs
Channels of defloration footprints of pleasure panting
In the bright light of burning noon or underneath the stars
When your turbines turn faster and you scatter
Foam to the left and foam to the right upon the shivering waters.

O ocean liner you sing and sail
It seems to me our journeys run together
I think that we resemble one another
Our circles are a part of all creation
Forbears of generation still emerging
We sail we travel forward without guilt
Forges and mills and factories are we
Great plains and oceans and assemblies
Where young men come together with their maidens
And then inscribe upon the sky the words
Armala Porana and Velma.

O ocean liner you sing and sail
Apple trees blossom always in our hearts
With their sweet juices and their shade
To which the young girls come at noon
So they can taste love with us
And afterwards so they can see the harbors
With the tall belfries and the towers
Where landlocked maidens climb
To dry their hair.

O ocean liner you sing and sail
Our lyres of boundless joy ring out
With the wind's whistling fore and aft
With birds upon the wires of the masts
With echoes of remembrance like binoculars
Which I hold up before my eyes and see
Islands and oceans approaching
Dolphins and quails retreating
Hunters are we of the delight of dreams
The destination that runs on but never rests
As dawns never rest
And shivers never rest
And as waves never rest
And as the wakes of ships never rest
Nor our songs for the women we love.

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