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

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

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,

In the Dead Sea
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

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

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.

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