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Thread: Σε πότισα ροδόσταμο

  1. #11
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks for your comments, Pontios &, of course, SBE, provocative as ever! Merkouri's rendering appeals to me--as it does to Neikos & Antony Perkins (!)--as, musically 'inadequate' though it may be, it sounds like a love song with longing for the unattainable which is what the film is all about but with the twist in the story that here Phaedra actually attains her goal; thus it is not meant to be a performance, however accomplished others are who have interpreted it. Still, de gustibus non est disputandum.....[there's no accounting for tastes]. Sorry too, SBE, I didn't get your joke that the lyrics were from a Madonna song (I had to look it up), since the pop scene is almost wholly alien to me.
    Probably more amusing is the fact that archaeologists when they find anything whose purpose they cannot identify say that it must have served some religious function!
    I wish as Pontios suggested that I could relearn to think like a young child but I have eaten of the apple & lost the art of innocent reading of poetry: T.S. Eliot is so full of literary allusions that in many poems of his you just get bogged down. But of course, Pontios, you are right,
    A different poem with a similar title to the one above called Μια Κυριακή του Μάρτη it has a verse, where it says:-
    Δε σου 'στειλα το μήλο
    και σ’ έχασα από φίλο
    μα μ’ ένα πορτοκάλι
    θα σε κερδίσω πάλι.
    It is hard to understand what is meant but the critical mind takes over & seeks to dissect the stanza for its meaning but 'analysis is paralysis' & childlike innocence is lost.....

  2. #12
    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    I have to disagree with Pontios. The sung is about a dead person, presumably a man. He is advised not to become a cloud when he goes to the underworld, because his mother, who is waiting for him, might see him. Then the narrator changes to the mother, who says that she looked after her son, but he gave her sorrow with his death. And two phrases in the style of a lament follow (the bit about the hawk and the eagle, which is also how we know the dead is a young man or even a boy).
    Then the song concludes with the mother or the narrator asking the dead boy to come back as the dew that will revive the garden of the family home, which is presumably a metaphor for the longing of the family/mother, who wants to see him again.
    It is not unusual in lamentations for mourners to say that the dead person, by dying, treated them unfairly. Or of context the two first lines of the chorus may be about ingratitude, but if these is the case, why then go on to praise the qualities of the person?(hawk, eagle etc).
    PS My high school literature teachers always gave me very low marks, so I may be wrong in all of the above, although I think they were just bad teachers.

  3. #13
    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    And I was just thinking that both Earion and I thought there is no hidden meaning or symbolism. Clearly because having received a Greek education, both in and out of school, means that we get it without thinking about it. And we have come across it many times in many forms. Obviously it's not the same for someone who has not, and I ought to have thought of that earlier. Sorry, Theseus.
    Btw, do listen to my other suggestions. I also think that now that you have explored Theodorakis, and hopefully Hadjidakis (much harder lyrics, usually), you may be ready for some Νέο Κύμα.

  4. #14
    Senior Member pontios's Avatar
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    SBE is right, I was just treating this poem as a separate piece - is this part of a larger poem?
    I don't have the details; who the narrator is in relation to the subject, and what this "other world" was referring to. Is it Hades or a real place?
    I just wanted to show that there's a lot of symbolism in there - we just have to look for it. It would help, obviously, if I knew more about the story - and maybe I had no right to comment, other than to make the point about looking for it (this symbolism).

    Re: moondew - I just read it's a plant with healing qualities (you can make a healing potion from it). The mother of the deceased needs healing, possibly.
    The symbolism is there; and it's as rich as the mind is fertile.

    P.S.
    There is a lot of bitterness expressed in the poem (I've only shown you good -and you've given me bad).
    The narrator sees or expects to see the deceased return as a hawk/falcon from the wilderness, or bitter cold; or as a bitter star - a constant reminder of the bitterness they've caused or brought (in life or as a result of their death).
    There's a lot of association going on with bitterness/harshness. I don't know if the narrator is ascribing these qualities to the deceased - that this was the type of person they were (living), or whether their death has brought on these feelings (what an ungrateful, uncaring person you are to leave me and your mother)?
    Rather than bringing more of or prolonging this bitterness, the deceased is being advised to bring some much needed healing - be the moondew, not the bitter star.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your comments, SBE. They are always valuable & your comments about the song are the most helpful I have received. Apology (if necessary () accepted. I wish it were as simple as I remember it. And I always did very well in language exams in the old days. Now I have to teach my students from prescribed books techniques to answer questions & they are prohibited from seeing the beauty & grandeur of the wood for the literary trees & the wonder of the wood is lost as they gaze at some poor specimen of a stunted tree. I find your interpretation of this song inspiring; love and death intertwined in 'combat stupendous'. I would award top marks to you for your illuminating analysis, which leads me to appreciate the poem without having to think too much.
    Earion is also a critic whose judgment I value. It is encouraging to find that in the home of Western civilisation true learning still is an important discipline. Yes, your teachers were bad teachers. I realise now that I may have sold my literary soul for a mess of unpalatable potage.... Hadjidakis I have avoided. Some argue that he should have been awarded first prize in the festival when Theodorakis won with Η Απαγωγή. I must admit I have avoided looking at his songs in case I found the lyrics formidable to translate. My burden is being too much of an obsessive...
    BTW, λυγεριά is an antiaphrodisiac. Is this relevant?

  6. #16
    Senior Member pontios's Avatar
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    Further to my above post (#14) -- I think the hawk/falcon might symbolise a regular, passing reminder of the death; whereas the star is more of a constant, bitter reminder (of the death).
    The deceased is being asked not to come back (into their minds) as a cloud, which might symbolise no feelings (it's just a lifeless cloud which disappears); nor regularly (hawk/falcon flying in from the wilderness with a chilling wind) or constantly (bitter star) as a painful memory - but to come back (into their minds) as moondew and heal the pain (or heal their own vengeful/bitter soul which only brings pain? - I need more details).
    They want to remember this deceased person - they don't want their memory to be like a cloud which disappears - but they want it to be a pleasant memory - and to heal from the pain.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Again, thanks, Pontios. I read your interpretation with great interest. I think that SBE's elaboration on the details of the song makes a great deal of sense. The star as a bitter reminder of death is good. And your translation 'moondew' is inspired. Here is an attempted translation of the poem, whose text Earion submitted above:-

    When you go the the other world,
    see that you do not turn into a cloud,
    see that you do not turn into a cloud
    or a bitter star of the dawn
    and your mother recognizes you
    who waits at the door;

    I gave you rosewater to drink
    in return you gave me poison
    eaglet of the freezing cold,
    hawk of solitude.

    Take a branch of chasteberry,
    a sprig of rosemary,
    a sprig of rosemary,
    and become moondew
    to fall at midnight
    on your thirsty courtyard.

    I gave you rosewater to drink
    in return you gave me poison
    eaglet of the freezing cold,
    hawk of solitude.

  8. #18
    Senior Member SBE's Avatar
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    Pontios, the άλλος κόσμος is definitely the Underworld. There is no ambiguity there.
    By the way, I am not sure if you are aware of Ο τάφος by Costis Palamas, written for the death of his infant son (1898).
    The best known section is the one where the dead boy is told not to drik the water of oblivion that will be given to him, and to come back to the now bleak family home as a breeze and give them kiss:
    Στο ταξίδι που σε πάει ο μαύρος καβαλάρης,
    κoίταξε απ' το χέρι του, τίποτε να μην πάρεις.
    Κι αν διψάσεις μην το πιείς από τον κάτου κόσμο
    το νερό της αρνησιάς, φτωχό κομμένο δυόσμο!
    Μην το πιείς κι ολότελα, κι αιώνια μας ξεχάσεις...
    βάλε τα σημάδια σου το δρόμο να μη χάσεις,
    κι όπως είσαι ανάλαφρο, μικρό σα χελιδόνι,
    κι άρματα δε σου βροντάν παλικαριού στη ζώνη,
    κοίταξε και γέλασε της νύχτας το σουλτάνο,
    γλίστρησε σιγά - κρυφά και πέταξ' εδώ πάνω,
    και στο σπίτι τ' άραχνο γυρνώντας, ω ακριβέ μας,
    γίνε αεροφύσημα και γλυκοφίλησέ μας!


  9. #19
    Senior Member pontios's Avatar
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    SBE, I wasn't aware of the poem by Costis Palamas.
    I don't have anything to draw on; I'm not familiar with similar poems/stories or traditions, and I was never into literature - I couldn't get into it due to lack of interest (always preferred science).

    I just gave it a fresh and unencumbered (I travel light) once-over. I sensed the symbolism, afresh if you like (which you probably saw as formulaic). Your insights have been helpful.

    You know me by now: I take a stab at anything, even if I risk butchering the lot. The joy - half the fun (I find, anyway) is in the stabbing.

    Re: άλλος κόσμος - in the sense of "abode of the dead" and not "hell" - is that what you mean?

  10. #20
    Senior Member Theseus's Avatar
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    Ο Τάφος is translated thus in the Penguin book of Greek verse by Constantine A. Trypanis:

    On the journey on which the Black Horseman takes you, be careful not to accept anything from his hand;
    And, if you feel thirsty, do not drink the water of oblivion in the world below, my poor plucked spearmint!
    Do not drink, lest you forget us fully, forever; leave marks so as not to lose the way.
    And, being light and small like a swallow, with no warrior's weapons clashing round your waist
    See how you can trick the Sultan of the Night; slip away gently, secretly, and fly to us up here;
    Come back to this empty house, O our precious boy; turn into a breath of wind, and give us a sweet kiss.

    (The Penguin book of Greek verse by Constantine A. Trypanis)

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