Seferis’ Houses


Seferis’ Houses


The houses he had owned

they took away from him..


Seferis carried his home

on his back like a tortoise.

Iron beds in empty hotel rooms

rang through his lines,

and the sounds of loneliness–

the silent screams of souls

left to themselves

in the dark.


The houses he had owned they

took away from him.


He used his poetry,

he strung words from the stars

stared at them from afar.

Flowers of Agapanthus

he nailed on his lines,

and crickets, beating time

for the machine.


Only briefly did he go back to Smyrni.


For he knew. Seferis knew. He knew

you have to talk to the dead.

Hades is full of whispers–

the house is always watching.

And waiting.


A version of this poem appeared in the “Word for Word” anthology Gathering Diamonds from the Well, London: New Gallery Books, 2007.

George Seferis (1900-1971), Greek poet, originally from Smyrni (now Izmir) in western Turkey, winner of the Nobel Prize for literature 1963.

20 October 2010