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March 20, 1966 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1966-03-20
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THREE MODERN

GREEK POETS

Translated by KONST.ANTIN S L.T RDA

George Seferis

GYMNOPAEDIA
"Santorini is geologically composed off
pumice-stone and china-clay; in her bay-...
islands appeared and disappeared. It was
the center of a very ancient religion where
were performed lyrical dances of a strict
and heavy rhythm called Gymnopaedia."
--Guide to Greece

I. SANTORINI

Yield to the threatening sea
Forgetting flute that piped to naked feet
Stomping your sleep in the other the sunken life.
Scratch on your final shell
The day the name the place
Hurl it to sink to sea.
Naked on pumice-stone we stood
Marking the rising the sinking of
Red islands
Deep in their sleep in ours.
Here we stood naked balancing
Scales which countered towards
Injustice.
Steeped power shadowless will accountable love
Plans that plush-ripen in the sun
Sweeping to course of fate with palm-clasp to
The shoulders
In land that falters unenduring
In land that once was ours
Rust islands sunk to ash.
Altars decayed
Our friends forgotten
Palm-leaves in mud.
Permit the voyaging of hands
Upon this curve of time
To ship that crests horizon.
When dice were hurled to slab
When breast was gashed by spear
When eye acknowledged stranger
Love shriveled
In the tattered souls;
When glance is cast to see
Feet circled as to threshing
Hands circled as to dying
Eyes cricled as to clouding,
When even choice to you is only a denial
Of urgent death you begged
Stunned howl
Wolf's cry
Your justice,
Permit the voyaging of hands
Beyond the clasp of time
And sink,
Sinks he who carries the great stones.
I MYCENAE
Give me your hands give me your hands give me
your hands.
I saw in the night
Dark height of mountain peak
I saw in the plain
Far flood of light from nonexistent moon

I saw in turn of head
Stones huddled in the dark
My taut life strung like cord
Beginning and all end
The final moment
My hands.
Sinks he who carries the great stones.
These stones I carried as long as I endured
These stones I loved as long as I endured
These stones my fate.
Wounded by this my land
Tortured by this my shirt
Condemned by these my gods
These stones.
I know they do not know, but I
Who countless times followed
The course from killer to the victim
From victim unto justice
From justice to new slaughter
Groping beyond
The unredeeming purple
That night of the return
When Furies scorched their song
Upon the scraggy grass-
I saw snakes crossed with vipers
Coiling to wanton generation
Our fate.
Cries from black stones from sleep
Here deeper where the world grows dark
Remembered work rooted to rhythm
Striking the earth
In all abandonment of feet.
Bodies sunk naked to foundations
Of another time. Eyes glued
To sign
Incomprehensible to you,
That soul
Which rages to become your soul
Neither is silence any longer yours
Here where the mill-stones stopped.

by ROGER RAPOPORT
IN -1953 a 17 year-old red _ haired, boy
from Ghent, Ohio, gave a speech on
"Peace or Freedom," in a National For=
ensic League speaking contest at : Denver.
The speech dealt with America's. respon-
sibility to. liberate the captive millions
under the yoke of Red tyranny.
The anti-Communist, pro-American'
speech won the boy a huge gold-painted
trophy naming him the nation's top high
school speaker.
Twelve years later the same speaker-
now a 30-year old professional activist-
gave another speech about peace and
freedom. But this time he explained to a
Washington audience that America had
to scrap anti-Communism as a political
principle and to fight the economic and
social injustices that cause violence and
corruption both here and abroad.
America, the activist said, was "a na-
tion of young -bright-eyed, hard-hearted,
slim-waisted, bullet-headed, make-out
artists=-a nation of beardless liberals."
THERE WERE NO prizes this time for
Carl Oglesby, the bearded radical
who is president of Students for a Demo-
cratic Society (SDS). As leader and chief
spokesman of the largest and most in-
fluential organization of the new left,
Oglesby is oracle for a new generation of
student activists. His personal transfor-
mation from a true believer to an embit-
tered radical is the story of the rise of a
breed of discontented student skeptics.
At 30, Oglesby is both old enough to
remember the apathy of the fifties and
young enough to understand the activism
of the sixties. He can explain the *rans-
formation because he went through it,
TACK IN THE FIFTIES I remember
coming back to the college dorm af-
ter classes to find the Army-McCarthy
hearings," he says, "In a sense we had
been crushed by the McCarthy thing. But
more important, I think we handled our,
alienation differently. We had a feeling
about which end "was up. But then we
also got the big message--cooperate, col-
laborate, and don't make any noise be-
cause the system had a pretty good $10,-
000 job for you onthe other side of the
graduation-- fence.
The ascendancy of the beatniks show-
ed that no one believed we could-change
things. Instead of trying to alter what
was uncomfortable about American so-
ciety we just withdrew fromAt to five in
what Kerouac called the 'Great American
Night.'--We could live between the tracks,
the power system didn't tell you ;not to
write poems, it didn't bust you for having
a beard, for having a wanderlust, or for
thinking the most radical things about
the country. It was possible to even get
rich and famous by writing that Amer-
ica 'was all screwed up. Salinger's Hoiden
Caulfield was the ; archetype American
hero-the guy who just said to Bell with
everything;,..
UT LATE in the 50's something hap-
pened. The civil rights movement be-
gan. I'm sure that there would- be no
-New heft had it not been for the freedom
movement.
"People began to discover that you did
n't have to work with the power struc-
ture to change things. 'Maybe you could
do, things yourself, The civil-rights move
ROGER RAPOPORT is a sophomore;'
majoring in Journalism- and a Night
Editor of the Daily. He 'is presently
head of the Daily's Student Activism
beat.

CARL
ESBY,
The Renaissance Mann-
Is a Radical

ment found out that it was possible for
a few ordinary people to have a big tffect
on society."
When Oglesby talks about this discov-
ery, -he is not just speaking in generali-
ties. He is also talking about himself.
He found things out the- long way.
Back in high school hewas everything
but homecoming queen. Three time class
president and champion debater, he also
quarterbacked the football team and star
red in baseball to- become a six letter,
man. He played ball for an American
Legion team. And as a junior in high
school he belted' a 425 foot home run.
Shunning an offer from the Cleveland
Indians to play on their class B minor
league team- he entered nearby Kent
State University in the fall of 2953 and
kept on debating.
THOUGHT OF -myself as a liberal
then. For a very long time I accepted
prevailing notions about the international
Communist threat," he recalls.
"Actually, I want the world to be now
pretty much what I wanted it to be then.
I really haven't changed my spiritual
commitment."
In his third year at Kent State he
dropped out ("There was something stul-
tefying and irrelevant about school') and
_went to New York to find himself, fame,
and fortune. His first play "Season of
the Beast," was on its way to the stage
when he argued with the producer over
a change. The play was dropped.
In 1956 he returned to Ohio and niar-

Ann Arbor. He worked as a technical
writer on another defense department
.,disarmament contract.
For a while it looked as if Oglesby was
inexorably settling down into the com-
fortable middle-class mold. In 1960 he
heard about the Hopwood W r i t i n g
Awards and "decided that would be a
"fair reason for going to school at Mich-
igan." He took a full academic load,
worked a 40-hour week, and won a $1,500
Hopwood first prize in drama, in 1960.
He received a degree in English in 1961,
moved up to a $12,000 yearly income, and
bought a nicer home on--of all places--
Sunnyside Street, in Ann Arbor.
BI UT OGLESBY does not live on Sunny-
side any more; disillusionment, SIDS

"The ascendancy of the beatniks showed that no one believed
we could change things. Instead of trying to alter what was
uncomfortable about American society, we just withdrew
from it to live its what Kerouac called the "Great American
Night." We could live between the tracks; the power system
didn't tell you not to write poems, it didn't best you for hav-
ing a beard or for having a wanderlust.. . . But late in the
fifties, something happened... People began to discover that
you didn't have to work with the power structure to change
things."

.e s s n. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ..m~ a es xes s

SS :.:"..... -. ": ,o

- --Ill ...........

TRANSLATOR'S NOTES
Ca P. Cavafy was born in Anexandria in 1863 and died there in 1933.
His childhood and earry youth were spent in London and Constantinople,
and he visited Greece fho tpert periods only twice during his lifetime. He
was first presented to the English world by E. M. Forster in his Pharos and
Phari.lon. Ldoon, Hogarth Press, 1923; and since that time his translated
and collected works have been pubyished by Hogarth Press in 1951 and by
Harcourta Brace and World in 1961. "Awaiting theh Bariarianse" one of his
'historical' poems was written soimbefe before 1911 The poem speaks of
Emperors and consuls and bararians, and of the longo ago; but it is of our
world too-our boundaries, our wants.
Nikos Gatsos was born in a village near Tripolis in the Peloponnesus in
1912. He is a citizen of Athens, and has never gone beyond the borders of his
Greece; but ish as Charles Halmdesc escribed him; a "European poet." "Thel
Elegy" was written for GarorcaLca, ande "Death and the Knight" (after
Durer's engraving, The Knight, Death, and the Devil), was written for a con-
quereddreecenAnd for herGe anman conquerorsh thet'poet's certain affirmation
that bk l ands once more shall flourish into green."
George Seferis was bm rinSmyrna in 1900, and has been ma member of
the Foreign Ministry since 1926. He war dearded the Nobel Prize in Liter-
ature in 1963. oymnopaedia" was published in 1935 The voanicsne, sundered
island of ThiranSantorini and the city of Mycenae on the plain of Argos are
remembrances of the earliest civilizations of Greece, their beauties and their
hrors' (King Agamemnon's venturings on the purerpettapet that led him to
his deathnd and are acknowedgments of a sresent poet who writes and yet
who never can forget the thudndt hed the heavy burden of the stories of
Greece.KL
ce.-.L.
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0GLESBY I
the 1964
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ed Vivian to
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Vivian got
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ministration
In December
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HE WENT'
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in® $12,000 a
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sweet life."
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later he was
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of the politic'
us didn't eve3
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Thus Oglesby
new left.
He now wor
on the third
house in Ann
Yost Fieldhop
his views, he
most dispassic
noting his wt
reservoir of i]
lieves that thf
lotion and not
"IT JUST Dt
going to
his country c
other power.
such madmen
turn their cc
Vietnamese?
Unction betwe
{con(

CARL OGLESBY, on

the development of activism

ried his wife Beth. He reenrolled-at Kent
.State in 1957 working part time in. a
pizza parlor. When his wife- became
pregnant he quit school and went to work
for an Akron rubber factory doing tech-
nical writing on a Defense Department
disarmament contract.
.MEAIgWHILE ""Season . off the Beast,"
was produced at the Margo-Jones
theatre in Dallas to rave 4reviews. But
the backers and the theatre*s board saw
it as an attack on fundamentalist relic -
ion and the play closed.
.B ECAUSE THESE WERE days of in-
creasing concern about the bomb and
nuclear disaster; he and his wife decided
to get away from,- the population center
in_ Ohio.
They moved to rustic Cape Nedick,
Maine. "It proved to be sort of silly -since.
we ended up a few miles from the Parts-
mouth Navy Yard." says Oglesby.
Their savings ran out after three sea-
side months and through.a friend Oglesby
got a job with Bendix Systems Division in

and commitment hit him at the same
time.
"I started out thinking people studied
disarmament because they wanted to dis-
arm. But I discovered that when the
government talks about disarmament
they really talk about -ways of increasing
strategic advantage over the Soviet Un-
ion. Because the United States has more
missiles and weapons than the Com-
munists, disarming, to an equal level
would mean we might have to give up
two missiles for every one they give up.
"The American position seems to be
that reduction would be only on a missile-
for-missile basis. In. the end the United
States would end up with an increased
proportional military advantage and gain
over the countries of the Soviet block."
Oglesby began to doubt, and then to
study. With the technical thoroughness
of the__ seasoned debater, he examined
both points of view on the subject of the
cold war. Finally, he made his decision:
somewhere behind -all the complexities
and moral contradictions, the cold war
was basically. the responsibility of the

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Rneprinted rP ermissionoof An oheh Review)

KQNSTANTiNQS LAKDAS is'an instructor in. English _at the University.
He has had his poems '-and translations published in many magazines.

Page Sipe

THE MICHIGAN DAILY MAGAZINE SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 1966

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