“Thirty Years in the Rain” is the title of a poem by Nikiforos Vrettakos and the title of a poetry volume – a selection of Vrettakos’ poems published by Sommerset Hall Press (Boston, MA) in the translation of Robert Zaller and Lili Bitta. Several pages from this book are available at google books.
The dimensions of Nikiforos Vrettakos’ poetry are those of a poetic cosmogony: an inventory of the universe, of the divine presence and of chimerical states of mind:
"Poised like an eagle,
I stand above the world
- one claw in the snow,
the other in the clouds –
- from An Eagle
The poetry of Vrettakos is steeped in a grandiose and Romantic poetic discourse found at the crossroads of self & universe tempered by a realist vein, that brings, in an icy sheen, the metaphors back inside the ‘eye’s cold quarantine”:
"“I have nothing to give you” you said. “ Nothing.
My hands are empty as a sieve.”
You could hardly bear the weight. You could hardly
plant your step.
laden with stones
quarried from the sun."
- from II The Perforated Hands
An intriguing theme that pervades Vrettakos’ poetry is blossoming; its poetic extension yields a plethora of associations.
Blossoming is a difficult poetic theme in my opinion. Here is how Vrettakos deals with it:
"The apple tree sows its blossoms
in the wind: you fetch
rainwater in your apron
light from the wheatstalks
a moon of sparrows."
- from Without You
And the conclusion of this post? “Taygetos isn't a mountain.”
Taygetos, the mountain in Sparta, in whose proximity Vrettakos was born, is celebrated in his poems:
“ First off
Taygetos wasn’t a mountain.
It was the first poem
I read as I opened my eyes,
my first friend, haloed with light.”
- from Evening Confessions.