The Last Day

Poem By Giorgos Seferis

The day was cloudy. No one could come to a decision;
a light wind was blowing. ‘Not a north-easter, the sirocco,' someone said.
A few slender cypresses nailed to the slope, and, beyond, the sea
grey with shining pools.
The soldiers presented arms as it began to drizzle.
‘Not a north-easter, the sirocco,' was the only decision heard.
And yet we knew that by the following dawn
nothing would be left to us, neither the woman drinking sleep at our side
nor the memory that we were once men,
nothing at all by the following dawn.

‘This wind reminds me of spring,' said my friend
as she walked beside me gazing into the distance, ‘the spring
that came suddenly in the winter by the closed-in sea.
So unexpected. So many years have gone. How are we going to die?'

A funeral march meandered through the thin rain.

How does a man die? Strange no one's thought about it.
And for those who thought about it, it was like a recollection from old chronicles
from the time of the Crusades or the battle of Salamis.
Yet death is something that happens: how does a man die?
Yet each of us earns his death, his own death, which belongs to no one else
and this game is life.

The light was fading from the clouded day, no one decided anything.
The following dawn nothing would be left to us, everything surrendered, even our hands,
and our women slaves at the springheads and our children in the quarries.
My friend, walking beside me, was singing a disjointed song:
‘In spring, in summer, slaves . . .'
One recalled old teachers who'd left us orphans.
A couple passed, talking:
‘I'm sick of the dusk, let's go home,
let's go home and turn on the light.'

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Other poems of SEFERIS

Denial

On the secret seashore
white like a pigeon
we thirsted at noon;
but the water was brackish.

The Leaf Of The Poplar

It trembled so, the wind set it sailing
it trembled so, how could it not yield to the wind
far beyond
the sea

Interval Of Joy

We were happy all that morning
Ο God how happy.
First the stones the leaves and the flowers shone
and then the sun

In The Sea Caves

In the sea caves
there's a thirst there's a love
there's an ecstasy
all hard like shells

Santorini - The Naked Child

Bend if you can to the dark sea forgetting
the flute's sound on naked feet
that trod your sleep in the other, the sunken life.