January 25

By Yannis Ritsos

For a moment we took refuge
against the latrine wall.
The wind was cutting.
An old man stared at a cloud.
I looked at him smiling
in the light of that cloud-so peaceful,
so far removed from desire and pain-
I was jealous.

Old people agree with the clouds.
And it’s taking us a long time to get old.

May 11

After the rain the buildings and the stones
change colors.

Two old men sit on the bench. They don’t talk.
So much shouting and so much silence remains.
The newspapers age in an hour.

Stressed, unstressed, stressed, unstressed
the monotony of change-stressed;
unstressed, stressed, strophe, antistrophe
and neither rage nor sorrow.

Evening lights out;
just as heavy for the one who struck
as for the one he struck.

The men sit on the stones
pare their nails.
The others died.
We forgot them.

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