Ritsos, “Our Land”

Yannis Ritsos

Read By: Dena Spanos Hawkey

We climbed the hill to look over our land:
fields poor and few, stones, olive trees.
Vineyards head toward the sea. Beside the plow
a small fire smoulders. We shaped the old man’s clothes
into a scarecrow against the ravens. Our days
are making their way toward a little bread and great sunshine.
Under the poplars a straw hat beams.
The rooster on the fence. The cow in yellow.
How did we manage to put our house and our life in order
with a hand made of stone? Up on the lintel
there’s soot from the Easter candles, year by year:
tiny black crosses marked there by the dead
returning from the Resurrection Service. This land is much loved
with patience and dignity. Every night, out of the dry well,
the statues emerge cautiously and climb the trees.

  • Yannis Ritsos
  • 20th Century
  • English
  • Greek
  • Nature
  • Poetry
  • Favorite Poem Project

Translated from the Greek by Edmund Keeley.