In Secret gives versions of Ritsos’s short lyric poems: brief, compressed narratives that are spare, though not scant. They possess an emotional resonance that is instinctively subversive: rooted in the quotidian but at the same time freighted with mystery. The poems are so pared-down, so distilled, that the story-fragments we are given – the scene- settings, the tiny psychodramas – have an irresistible potency.
THE LAST SUMMER
Soft shades of evening fade . . . Now we must start
to pack up: books, manuscripts, clothes.
Don’t forget that pink dress, it really suits you,
although, of course, it will hang in the closet all winter.
I’ve been re-working the poems I wrote
over the last few months, but to tell the truth
they seem pretty thin to me now;
I can see through them to where one dark thought
lies between the lines, that this summer –
cicadas, pines, the sea, the ships, the sunsets,
skiffs riding the swell under balconies in the moonlight –
this summer, its soft, false words and smiles, will be my last.
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