Stratis Thalassinos Among the Agapanthi
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STRATIS THALASSINOS AMONG T H E AGAPANTHI* There are no asphodels, violets, or hyacinths; how then can you talk with the dead? The dead know the language of flowers only; so they keep silent they travel and keep silent, endure and keep silent, beyond the community of dreams, beyond the community of dreams.* If I start to sing I'll call out and if I call out— the agapanthi order silence raising the tiny hand of a blue Arabian child or even the footfalls of a goose in the air. It's painful and difficult, the living are not enough for me first because they do not speak, and then because I have to ask the dead in order to go on farther. There's no other way: the moment I fall asleep the companions cut the silver strings and the flask of the winds empties.* I fill it and it empties, I fill it and it empties; I wake like a goldfish swimming in the lightning's crevices 146 and the wind and the flood and the human bodies and the agapanthi nailed like the arrows of fate to the unquenchable earth shaken by convulsive nodding, as if loaded on an ancient cart jolting down gutted roads, over old cobblestones, the agapanthi, asphodels of the negroes: How can I grasp this religion? The first thing God made is love then comes blood and the thirst for blood roused by the body's sperm as by salt. The first thing God made is the long journey; that house there is waiting with its blue smoke with its aged dog waiting for the homecoming so that it can die. But the dead must guide me; it is the agapanthi that keep them from speaking, like the depths of the sea or the water in a glass. And the companions stay on in the palaces of Circe: my dear Elpenor! My poor, foolish Elpenor!* Or don't you see them —"Oh help us!"— on the blackened ridge of Psara?* Transvaal, 14 January '42 H7 ...



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