"Poems 1945 - 1971" by Miltos Sachtouris

A very interesting collection of poetry from Greek surrealist Miltos Sachtouris. Admittedly a poet I had never heard of before (he is renowned in his native Greece) this was a “stumble upon” purchase and once I read the first two poems in the collection I knew I had to read the rest. Sachtouris relies heavily on surrealist imagery and there are many reoccurring images such as birds, a broken/bloody/fractured moon, severed hands/fingers, nails, blood but these are no gratuitous images; for they reflect what Sachtouris saw all around him while writing these poems: the occupation of Greece by the Nazis, civil war and the eventual military dictatorship that took hold in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s.


Poems such as The Forgotten Woman makes use of these intriguing and disturbing images:


The forgotten woman opens the window

opens her eyes trucks pass below

with women in black who show

their naked sex and one-eyed drivers

who curse her christ and her holy virgin

the women in black wish evil on her

though they throw her bloody carnations

from the rolling garden of their bliss from

the car exhaust into the cloud of smoke

the drivers tear through the cloud and call her a whore


Poems such as Height Of February also makes use of surrealist imagery:


Bad mother with your pinned-on eyes your wide nailed-on mouth

and your seven fingers you grab your baby

and caress it then stretch your white arms before you

and the sky burns them with its golden rain


Some of these poems can be a bit of a ‘heavy’ read considering the subject matter they address while some can be very obscure, clothed in surrealist imagery and metaphor which perhaps may take more than one reading in order to decipher its meaning. However these are very powerful works, reflecting three differing tumultuous times in the nation’s history. Definitely recommended, especially for those who like surrealist poetry.

Source: http://www.juliangallo66.blogspot.com