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Ionian Sang

We hae smashit their eemages,
chasit thaim out o their tempils:
they’re no deid o’t, the Gods.
They are luve ye dearlie, land o Ionia,
and their speerits are mind o ye.
Whan an Aagast morn comes til licht on ye,
the air’s fuhll o thaim;
and whiles an ephebe’s speerit,
bleerit and rapid,
makes its wey owre yir hills.

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About the translation:
Constantine Cavafy
John Manson
Original language:
Modern Greek into French into Scots
Series 3 No. 5 - Transgressions

Original poem

About the authors


Constantine Cavafy

Constantine P. Cavafy, also known as Konstantin or Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, or Kavaphes (GreekΚωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης) (Ap...

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John Manson

John Manson is a critic, translator and poet. He has co-edited two selections of Hugh MacDiarmid's poetry and published over fi... » Read more

Chant Ionien (Ionian Sang)

Nous avons brisé leurs statues,
nous les avons chassés de leurs temples:
ils n’en sont pas morts, les dieux.
Ils te chérissent encore, terre d’Ionie,
et leurs âmes se souviennent encore de toi.
Quand un matin d’août vient se poser
sur toi, l’air frémit de leur présence;
et parfois la forme éthérée d’un éphèbe,
indistincte et rapide,
passe sur tes collines.


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