C G Karyotakis 1896-1928 Greek poet

I’m sure your all getting the feeling now that the area surrounding Lefkás known for its poetry because of the amount of poets I have so far covered. Also, I rather like poetry which is not a thing you would initially think considering I’m quite logical and a scientist.

This poet deserves a post because I was struck by the beauty of his poetry and he lived such a short life.

He also talks about Preveza, the biggest town in the area. Which from everything I’ve ever heard and seen about the place, hasn’t changed at all and will inspire the same melancholic poetry in yourself. (The poet committed suicide shortly after writing that poem).

Kostas Karyotakis suffered the fate of most people born before there time in that his work was only appreciated after he died. He knew his brilliance but couldn’t convince others so this gave him great pain. This is sometimes reflected in his work especially later on.

He was highly intelligent, studied law and became employed in clerical work which he highly disliked. This comes across in his poems but he was able to revolutionise the way poetry was written so there is always a silver lining to everything in life.

He had syphilis which at the time couldn’t be cured which is mainly responsible for his suffering, inability to settle into any position and therefore constant changing of where he was living.

He was sad, suicidal and unfulfilled for the majority of his life so it’s no surprise that he ended his life rather quickly by shooting himself through the heart under a eucalyptus tree.

This is the sixth post in the series of Greek but mainly Lefkádian writers and poets which includes a bonus post from Sententiae Antiquae on Sappho.

Aristotle Valaoritis

C F Cavafy

Angelos Sikelianos

Lefkadia Hearn

George Seferis

Best wishes



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Athena Minerva

A place for me to write about things that concern myself and the world around me. Please check out my page on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01G9629BG after you have finished my blog or drop me a line at theenglishintrovert@beyondtheenglishintrovert.com

8 thoughts on “C G Karyotakis 1896-1928 Greek poet”

  1. By kind permission of the Editor Wendy Holborow and the translators Keith Taylor and Bill Reader.


    And so they go and die the same way they live.

    I speak of lives given to the light
    of serene love, and while they flow
    like streams, they keep that light inside
    eternally inseparable, just as
    the sky glints in rivers,
    just as suns flow through the skies.
    I speak of lives given to the light. . .

    I speak of brief lives draping
    a woman’s rubied lips, just as
    votive offerings, silver hearts, are draped
    on the icon-screen up front.
    These lives on a woman’s beloved lips
    are likewise humble and true.
    I speak of brief lives draping. . .

    No one mistrusts them.
    Just as – quiet and dark
    and foreign and sad – they follow
    the footstep, the idea of a lithe woman
    (and she isn’t mistrusted), so they
    will droop toward the earth, will fade quietly.
    No one mistrusts them. . .

    They moved uncertainly – faint
    as stars at the hour of dawn –
    through the thought of a passing woman
    who, so she could keep going happily,
    didn’t notice the lives which fade slowly
    like the soul of a morning lamp.
    They moved uncertainly – faint. . .


    Κ’ έτσι πάνε και σβήνουνε όπως πάνε.

    Λέω τις ζωές που δόθηκαν στο φως
    αγάπης γαληνής, κ’ ενώ κυλούν
    σαν ποταμάκια, εντός τους το σφαλούν
    αιώνια κι αξεχώριστα, καθώς
    μες στα ποτάμια φέγγει ο ουρανός,
    καθώς στους ουρανούς ήλιοι κυλούν.
    Λέω τις ζωές που δόθηκαν στο φως…

    Λέω τις ζωούλες που ‘ναι κρεμαστές
    απ’ τα ρουμπίνια χείλη γυναικός
    ως κρέμονται στα εικονοστάσια εμπρός
    τα τάματα, οι καρδιές ασημωτές,
    κ’ είναι όμοια ταπεινές, όμοια πιστές
    στ’ αγαπημένα χείλη γυναικός.
    Λέω τις ζωούλες που ‘ναι κρεμαστές…

    Που δεν τις υποψιάζεται κανείς,
    έτσι όπως ακλουθάνε σιωπηλές
    και σκότεινες και ξένες και θλιβές
    το βήμα, την ιδέα μιάς λυγερής
    (κι αυτή δεν υποψιάστη), που στη γης
    θα γείρουνε, θα σβήσουν σιωπηλές.
    Που δεν τις υποψιάζεται κανείς…

    Που διάβηκαν αμφίβολα, θαμπά
    σαν άστρα κάποιας ώρας αυγινής,
    από τη σκέψη μιάς περαστικής
    που, για να τρέχει τόσο χαρωπά,
    δεν είδε τις ζωές που σβηούν σιγά
    σαν την ψυχή καντήλας αυγινής.
    Που διάβηκαν αμφίβολα, θαμπά…

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Karyotakis’ last poem, written a month before his death, was Preveza.


            Death is the crows clattering

            on dark walls and roof-tiles;

            death – those women who make love

            as if they were peeling onions.

            Death these grimy, insignificant streets

            with their great, illustrious names,

            the olive grove, in all directions the sea,
            and even the sun – death amid deaths.

            Death – that cop who wraps up

            an ‘Insufficient’ serving and weighs it;

            death – these hyacinths on the balcony

            and that teacher with the newspaper.

            Base, Garrison, Platoon of Preveza.

            On Sunday we’ll hear the band.

            I got a savings book from the bank,
            first deposit – thirty drachmas.

            Walking slowly on the wharf you say,

            ‘Do I exist’ and then, ‘You do not exist!’

            The ship arrives, Raised flag.

            Perhaps His Honor the Governor is coming.

            If, among these people, just

            one would die from disgust…
            Silent, sad, decorous,

            we’d all have fun at the funeral.

            Liked by 1 person

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