Yiannis Doukas



I said to him, Sea-Parrot,

navigator, up to the arctic you were going, poor you, transoceanic though you were, your only egg is what you claimed.The rock, a wounded curtain – and would it want to be a chalk and make a croaky muffled sound upon the climbing. You’ll cross the waves and you will reach the heavens of the goat and the unchristened nest of childbirth.

            Because I walked up there myself and, right on the verge, I saw an acropolis. And, seriously, I had nothing to do, I just produced the terrible respite of a prehistory, sunshiny in the middle of a breath. My foot flies like a meaning to the west and gets imprinted gasping and all-sweaty.

The genus of the gorge, I whispered, in pride you walk and then you sink into the drop of foam. You lair in slits, my little nun, and dig your holes on slippery slopes. You will be coming back and looking for the mating of the year, you’ll fly in circles in the springtime on dried and ancestral land.

And I was headed to the sea myself, leaving behind my roost – the verge before migration. Because I had grown feathers and I would not come back for years, well-fed, full-grown already. And I went out one night, I showed myself, I walked in the beginning, faster, faster. I ran, but I would not take off. I reached the water and I paddled until dawn, without fatigue or lull. And off the coast, I wouldn’t look for congregation with my kind. I wanted to be absent.

Bathed by the soil and the guarding master of your door, I remind him, while she is drying the grass inside the tunnels, she makes dust out of mud and into crumbles. Oh, my Atlantic fossil, how much water do you need to hide?

            And me, how was I bent like that? How had I been the dimmest from so young, and did I wear the palest patches? Squalid fragile, inhaling dangers – and where to find my forty fish a day? And if I flirted with my beak and if I fell asleep upon the waters and if I knew that we’d give birth to something weighing more than us and if we had to spend whole weeks before our warmth became a crack, still I would sacrifice my flight, to be a swimmer. Still, I would compromise the plumage, to be pelagic and have my fingers in membranes.

I said to him, Sea-Parrot,

navigator, you always knew that there’s no ending, that we’ll forever keep on going forward. From everything that has been said, from what the horizon insinuated, what else have we been taught? The view to the world’s far end, and what I happened to relearn by talking to the cliffs.


Translated by the poet himself.