Monday, December 29, 2008

More poetry from Greece (1)

With my heart's wings (2007) is a multilingual collection of poetry written by poet and author Dr. Zanneta Kalyva-Papaioannou. One can read her poetry in Greek, English, French, Italian and Chinese. The poet comes from Vachlia, of Arcadia (Greece). She studied at the Supreme Industrial School of Piraeus (with scholarship) and at the same time she was working in the "Public Electric Power Company".

Today Zanneta is a journalist, poetess and author. Her works have been published in national and international newspapers and magazines, and her poems have been translated in English, French, Italian, Chinese, Albanian and Korean.

Her writings have won international and national prizes and she is member of the "World Congress of Poets/ World Academy of Arts and Culture" from where she was awarded the Doctor of Literature. She is also member of the "Accademia Ferdinandea" (Italy), of the "International Society of Greek Writers and Artists", of the "Union of Greek Writers", of the Literary Club "XASTERON" and of the "Literary Club of Helioupolis", amongst others. Zanneta is also included in the American "Who's Who" and in "I.B. of Cambridge" (UK).

Her other publications are Memories (2001), a collection of narrative stories from her childhood; A Life's Notes (2002), a bilingual poetic collection; and Life's Essence (2003), poems and short stories;

In her poetic anthology With my heart's wings Zanneta has 25 poems translated into English, thanks to poet and translator Zacharoula Gaitanaki. Two of the most important themes in Zanneta's verse are love and peace.

POEMS from With my heart's wings:

The Dove

You are a dove

that flies in the clouds

and your wings

never stop.

You carry in your beak

an olive branch

and you fly

as high as you can.

You hope for

the coming of peace

that's why

you never stop.

Blessed mother

Mother is worthy

prizes and honors

but there are not

enough of them for her.

On her smiling face

sun rises

and a better life

wants for her famly.

She has a comfort word

for every pain and grief.

First she runs to help

a sick or a poor man.

Mother, daughter, wife, grandmother,

you are blessed,

you hold in your hands


We pick and choose our friends,
their ideas to quite fit in with us,
all we are a good company
with laughter and songs.

Memories run
like clear water
and mind wandering around,
always in the best.

In my bad moments
I recollect the past
and every time I burst:
"why all that to me?"

Photos beside me
keeping company
and I start to sing
for not feeling cloudy.

Sun shines every day
for all the people.
I open my windows
and let the sunlight in.

I open my heart
and I tell my yearning
that's the way
to ease my sigh.
all the world.

Different ways (2008) is another bilingual poetry anthology written by poet Stathis Grivas, and translated into English by Zacharoula Gaitanaki. After Citizen of the World (2007) Grivas brings to light these two long poems, "Ecce Homo" and "Pigeons and Falcons". As Gaitanaki writes in the introduction, this is "a book for the children that are dying of hunger and for 'a world without arms and bombs', a peaceful better world".
Thus Different Ways is proof that poets and politics go hand in hand. However, this is not politics the way politicians understand and practice it. Grivas politics is of the genuine type; it is poetry - and thus words - with a positive message, and not words which have egoism and personal profit as the real and only objective.
Grivas presents a strong contrast between the innocence of children on one hand, and the corruption and greed of the adult world on the other.

Excerpts from Ecce Homo:

sad children,
dreams without wings,
candles without light,
passing the soul's streets of silence
you became the living shame
of our inhuman generation...
Your parents,
Muslims or Christians,
looking in despair,
the sky of Biafra,
of Ethiopia, of Bangladesh
and shed bitter tears.
sad children,
tender beings,
innocent souls [...]

We are civilized people
and for this, we are dogmatic
and unscrupulous people.
You don't know that
with less rockets
you would have so much things...
And rice
and clothes
and schools.
And smiles
and toys.
Like Don Quixote
we'll chase
the World's rule
in the star War.
For you, we'll not reserve
a costly death,
a death of luxury.

Stathis Grivas was born in Kato Tithorea of Lokrida in 1926.

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