Rorate Caeli

Ecce ascendimus Ierosolymam
Lent is coming... - I

    My foundations are deep in the hills,
and these hills, the peoples carry them on their backs,
    and memory burns at their summit
in burning bush.

Odysseas Elytis         
To Axion Esti            

...Recess continues for a few days...


Tom the Milkman said...

THANK YOU for posting with words from one of my favorite poets! The verse of Greek poet Odysseas Elytis is of a fine beauty, &seeing his name spurred me to reread him, which really gifted me with a magnificent portion of gladness!
God bless.

John McFarland said...

Elytis was no Christian; indeed, he is fairly described as a neo-pagan, in an artsy sort of way.

So the burning bush for him is just one more bit of grist for his metaphorical mill, as it evident enough even from the brief quote.

John McFarland said...

Dear New Catholic,

Let me offer a thesis for your consideration, and then kick it around a bit.

Anything but professedly Christian literature that uses Christian doctrines, symbols, etc. is using them for other than religious purposes, and hence denaturing them.

(That, I submit, is Elytis all over. Geology goes in the direction of Hell, not in the direction of Heaven.)

Now a writer could use such doctrines, symbols, etc. in a secular context as a means of sparking the interest of the reader in the underlying realities.

I would think that Evelyn Waugh's "Brideshead Revisited" and "Helena" attempt something like this, although I would hesitate to say that it was his chief purpose -- in Brideshead, at any rate.

I'm hard pressed to think of other examples.

The Comedy? I don't know it, but I'm suspicious of (1) its being in the first person and (2) the importance in it of a lady who is not Mrs. Alighieri. Karl Marx loved it, and could quote it by the yard. This is not a good fact.

New Catholic said...


The reader may interpret it as he wishes, especially considering the profound and undeniable Christian influences on the whole structure of Elytis's texts. Almost everything in any poem has multiple meanings and layers of understandings, poems are more "geological" than pure "storytelling"...


New Catholic said...

It goes in any direction, including sideways, up, or down (i.e., on the Earth's surface, towards the center of the Earth...).
Are you really going to condemn Dante?... It is hard to take anything flowing from that source seriously...