Sixteen Haiku And Other Stories

An album by Sigmatropic.

Original poetry in Greek by George Seferis.

Lyrics translated from the Greek by Akis Boyatzis, assisted by Carla Torgerson and James Sclavunos. Translation was based on the book: “George Seferis, Collected Poems” by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, revised edition, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey 1995. The original Greek version of these poems appears in the book: “George Seferis, Poems”, sixteenth edition, Icarus, Athens 1989.

Besides the Sixteen Haiku, the other poems are On Stage (from Three Secret Poems), Dead Sea (from Logbook II), Water Warm (from Sketches for a Summer),This Human Body and The Jasmine.


Bells were heard and messengers arrived - I wasn’t expecting them, even the way they spoke was forgotten - rested, their clothes freshly changed, carrying their fruit in baskets. I was amazed and whispered: ‘I love these amphitheaters.’ The concave shell filled immediately and on the stage the lights dimmed as though for some celebrated murder.

Sixteen Haiku

Haiku One

Into the lake spill a single drop of wine and there fades the sun

Haiku Two

In the meadows not one fourleaf clover; among the three of us, who is to blame?

Haiku Three

In the museum garden Chairs deserted. The statues have gone back to that other museum.

Haiku Four

Could that be the voice of our dead friends or could that be the phonograph?

Haiku Five

She rests her fingers on the sea-blue scarf. Look, there: corals!

Haiku Six

Contemplating heavy are her breasts through the looking glass

Haiku Seven

Again I put on the tree leaves and you, you bleat.

Haiku Eight

Darkness. The wind. Divorce spreads and moves in waves.

Haiku Nine

Naked woman the pomegranate she threw was full of stars.

Haiku Ten

I am raising now a dead butterfly with no make-up.

Haiku Eleven

How can you gather the thousand little pieces of each person?

Haiku Twelve

What's wrong with the rudder? The boat goes in circles and not a single gull in sight

Haiku Thirteen

She has no eyes left, the snakes she was grasping swallow her hands.

Haiku Fourteen-A (sung in greek)

Τούτη η κολώνα Έχει μια τρύπα Βλέπεις την Περσεφόνη

Haiku Fourteen-B

There is a hole in this column. Can you see Persephone?

17: Haiku Fifteen

The world goes down hang on, you'll be left alone in the sun.

Haiku Sixteen

You always write. The ink diminishes. The sea multiplies.

[Dead Sea]

Like the Dead Sea, we are all many fathoms below the surface of the Aegean. Come with me and I will show you the setting:

In the Dead Sea there are no fish there is no seaweed nor any sea-urchins there is no life. There are no creatures that have a belly to suffer hunger that nourish nerves to suffer pain, THIS IS THE PLACE, GENTLEMEN!

In the Dead Sea scornfulness is no one’s trade no one’s worry. Heart and thought congeal in salt that’s full of bitterness and finally join the mineral world THIS IS THE PLACE, GENTLEMEN!

In the Dead Sea enemies and friends wife and children other relations go and find them. They’re in Gomorrah downon the bottom very happy they don’t expect any message. GENTLEMEN,

we continue our tour many fathoms below the surface of the Aegean.

[the water warm]

The water warm, just reminds me every dawn that I have nothing else alive around me.

[this human body]

This human body had a hope: like a branch that could flourish, to bear fruit, and in the frost become a flute imagination has thrust it deep into a buzzing beehive so that, a musical storm may come and torture it.

The Jasmine

Whether it’s dusk or dawn’s first light the jasmine always stays white.