Helen (excerpt)

Helen (excerpt)

According to one version of this myth, Aphrodite didn’t give real Helen to Paris, but one phantom image of her. Hermes ordered by Hera led Helen to Egypt, at the palace of the king Protea, where Menelaos met her as he was returning from Troy. Euripides negotiates this version of the myth in his tragedy “Helen”.Also in the tragedy Teucer meets Helen in Egypt who passes by on his way to Cyprus.

And at Troy?

At Troy, nothing: just a phantom image.

That’s how the gods wanted it.

And Paris, Paris lay with a shadow as though it were a solid being;

and for ten whole years we slaughtered ourselves for Helen.

Great suffering had desolated Greece.

So many bodies thrown

into the jaws of the sea, the jaws of the earth

so many souls

fed to the millstones like grain.

And the rivers swelling, blood in their silt,

all for a linen undulation, a filmy cloud,

a butterfly’s flicker, a wisp of swan’s down,

an empty tunic — all for a Helen…

 

 

George Seferis

Based on the myth of Helen

 

Translated by by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.



Facebook

Instagram

Follow Me on Instagram
  • It's not the sentiments of men which make history BUT THEIR ACTIONS .

    lecturesbureau: "It's not the sentiments of men which make history
BUT THEIR ACTIONS ."
    116
    1
  • There is only one journey . Going inside yourself .

    lecturesbureau: "There is only one journey .
Going inside yourself ."
    342
    2
  • Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies .

    lecturesbureau: "Love is composed of a single soul
inhabiting two bodies ."
    274
    1
  • Little by little , one travels far .

    lecturesbureau: "Little by little ,
one travels far ."
    132
    0
  • What the caterpillar calls the end , the rest of the world calls a butterfly .

    lecturesbureau: "What the caterpillar calls the end ,
the rest of the world
calls a butterfly ."
    247
    0
  • Whatever you do , DO WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT !

    lecturesbureau: "Whatever you do ,

DO WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT !"
    253
    1
  • Love responsibility . Say : It is my duty , and mine alone , to save the Earth . If it is not saved , then I ALONE AM TO BLAME .

    lecturesbureau: "Love responsibility .
Say : It is my duty , and mine alone , to save the Earth .
If it is not saved , then I ALONE AM TO BLAME ."
    251
    0
  • The perfect Love is the one that gives everything and never expects anything in return .

    lecturesbureau: "The perfect Love is the one 
that gives everything
and never expects anything in return ."
    1807
    6
  • Liberty means Responsibility . That is why most men dread it .

    lecturesbureau: "Liberty means Responsibility .

That is why most men dread it ."
    282
    1
  • It is better to be envied than pitied .

    lecturesbureau: "It is better to be envied
than pitied ."
    257
    1