Aristea Papalexandrou









(Stadiou St.)

I know this stranger By the light spread by her black dress

I should put it the other way round it’s she who knows me I feel like she’s been following me since the time when gasping I wandered about the city And I heard as if from afar her silence in my ear:

« Speechless rival slip into Stadiou swiftly”

I the speechless rival And it rises before me


Lovely this youthful silence

It knows me and I know it

I and her


in my black dress

As if she wants to tell me something Consuming me to feed me Sweetly permeating my being


I feed her and she feeds me.






Locked in

his white shirt

there are some twilight moments

when he flashes before my eyes

is lost, you’d think erased

before he nods at me

that he’d left

he’s leaving



The little I know about him is inconsistent

He’s not from here

and is not in any sense important

But he does have a way of being convincing

Trustworthy stranger; they chose him

to breach the promise of another

True man of borrowed


Perhaps he would like to

have spoken himself about

that night

About the others’ alibi

All he saw as hew s passing by


infiltrating their steps


The mute human

commanding me to articulate




(2) In this poem there is an obvious conversation between Papalexandrou and George Seferis one that is carried on in « Wing, Its Blowing” and « Ab Indivisio”. More specifically, in « Eyewitness” the poem « Narrative” by Seferis is the center of the conversation while in « Ab Indivisio” it’s « K. Andromeda” from the collection « Mythistorima” .





Above all else feeling is


Not to say there weren’t moments

that straightaway made you blanch


Leave your paleness

empty in first class

But the train even though it’s gone by

will be passing through again

No, it won’t be coming for you

it’s simply what it does


Whoever has stood under a shelter has


been locked into his life

— a few dozen kilometers

of suffocation –

Up to there

the infinity

of your living moments


All the creatures of earth

as free as possible

You too as free

and not pressured to support

yourself by your writing

Neither your life

nor you death is saved

by your unwritten verses.


Above all else feeling is


and this poem is endless

and this is yours.




3. “Aristi”, is a version of the poet’s name: Aristea, which in addition to being

a names means superior, excellent, distinguished. Both forms can be

used as women’s names.



[Translated by Philip Ramp]




[1]. The poet mentioned to the translator the Greek title was in some sense

inspired by The Fugitive (Albertine disparue…) section of Proust’s

Remembrance of Things Past and though the poem is not directly related

to it there is a sense of ambiguity, the sense of being lost, of being

forgotten, a “fugitive” becoming estranged from even him or herself.










biographical note


Aristea Papalexandrou has published five books of poetry: Dio onira prin (Two Dreams Ago, 2000), Allote allou (Once, Elsewhere, 2004), Odika ptina (Songbirds, 2008), Ypogeios (Underground, 2012), Mas propserna (It’s Passing Us By, 2015). She has studied music and Medieval and Modern Greek Literature. She works as an editor.


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