Μη σφιγγεις αδικα τις κορδελες σου σαν να φυτευεις μυγδαλιες

sereine

Member
UK English
This line from a poem by Κώστας Αγαρινος is quoted in the book Ο μεγάλος περίπατος του Πετρου by Αλκη Ζεη. Petros's sister, Antigone, has received a book of Agarinos's poems and has been declaiming them enthusiastically.
Petros and Antigone start quarrelling and Petros taunts her with this line.
I would be very grateful if anyone can tell me why it is insulting, or even what it means, as it doesn't seem to make much sense.
 
  • Acestor

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Hi. I haven't read the book but I've just browsed an online edition. I think Antigone reacts because her brother just throws the line at her, taunting her about her soft spot for the poet. The line itself doesn't mean much. It's probably representative of the poet's nonsensical poetry. When you've read the book, let us know if there's a more detailed presentation of the poet's work and style.
     

    sotos

    Senior Member
    Greek
    the only I can think about ribbons and almond trees, is that when you plant new trees you tie them with something like ribbon or string on a supporting wood, so that they stand straight.
     

    sereine

    Member
    UK English
    Many thanks for your help, Acestor and Sotos. I thought there might be a connection to an expression or a proverb, but clearly not.
    I haven't come across Agarinos and it is enlightening to learn that his verse can be nonsensical. I believe there is a Greek poem about a mad apricot tree, so perhaps fantastical Greek poetry is a thing. Yes, when I've read the book I will let you know if anything becomes clearer.
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    Ο μεγάλος περίπατος του Πέτρου by Αλκη Ζέη is not a roman à clé, but it is undoubtedly inspired by the author's own experiences. I happen to know her quite well, and I know -- I think the truth may now be told, seventy-five years after the fact -- that her sister had a platonic affair with the poet Νίκος Γκάτσος in the 1940's. The scene quoted may just possibly be an allusion to that.
     
    Last edited:

    Helleno File

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    What a facinating question - all completely new to me. With no knowledge of the source whatsoever can I suggest that the poetry may not necessarily be "nonsense" or even "fantastical" - although it can be. Images and allusions may be introduced to evoke simply sound and rhythm but even more a state of mind or feeling, especially via unexpected or even exotic ones, alongside more literal references. The interplay of literal and non-literal elements can produce not just uncertainty but transcendence. I am thinking of the poetry of Rilke, perhaps especially his well known ".... Adler, Lamm und Pfau".

    That has started something for me. Perhaps I should check out Αγαρίνος' poetry. Just to avoid all doubt, Acestor, you mean you knew the late Αλκη Ζέη personally?! Not just her work?!
     

    Αγγελος

    Senior Member
    Greek
    [...] Just to avoid all doubt, Acestor, you mean you knew the late Αλκη Ζέη personally?! Not just her work?!
    It was not Acestor but I who knew Άλκη Ζέη personally. She was a classmate and close friend of my mother's. In fact, my parents met at her parents' home. Her elder sister, described in Το Καπλάνι της βιτρίνας, is still alive, at 98. Through them, I also knew their aunt, Διδώ Σωτηρίου. Greece is a small country :)
     

    Helleno File

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Very sorry about my confusion Αγγελε. A lot going on in my life right now. You may have interesting tales to tell... not necessarily within the remit of this forum, sadly.
     
    Top