THUS, TRAGEDY IS…: Poem by Voula Memou

Painting courtesy: Interpreting Pagliacci Tragedy by Vincent Smarkusz

He would always walk,
the very same replica of a way,
a figment of his unique insecurity,
and headed right against
the non-negotiable nothing.
A nothing, born from his great expectations
“confections of unwritten readings”
for the morbidly premeditated paths.

Goals of superior people were nailed in his head
and came to life,
only to testify of the nihilism
that he, arrogantly, was trying to present as a virtue.
He slowly gnawed at the meltemi winds that sailed the ships of ethos
and invited his disgrace to easy reading concerts.

He would be considered lucky
should he meet with recognizable storms,
his greatest complaint
being the anonymity of his shadow.
Loud misstep of his fate,
his remote isolation displayed a fortiori in capital letters.

Quite a startle the outbreak of the tragedy,
it gets born, and shadows you about,
down to your very last cosmogenic walks
and it gives the creeps to the spectators of your downfall.

He kept alloying his regrets,
by relapsing into his anomies,
only to always collect the same,
-incomprehensible for him-
“rejected”,
as a reward for his irresponsible scheduling.
He never warmed his hands in the light of the moon
or escorted the blackbird to his nest.

He coveted the works of the great ones,
self-locked up and condemned
to remain outside their walls
secretly lamenting his fate
that made her plans
excluding him altogether from them.

He made desperate efforts,
to attend the fête of the fairy tales,
on the nights of the reclassifications
thus, on the face of their indifference,
he would get nasty
and plot works of despicable concepts.

He had chartered the caique of rejection several times,
when aiming at grandiose dreams
and, ignoring the one judge,
who was none other than his evil self,
he delineated his sins,
always within bordered states…

Traumatic apparitions
or rather scary, devoured hours,
were counting the years of his life before him
beckoning him over “there”,
that is, to the corner opposite,
a position where things place you
should they decide to kill your rightful “here”.

Cracks in space stirred
in the nights of isolation
undertaking the work of landslides
of elaborate words,
or relationships,
which he never managed to possess.

He kept writing fossilized sayings,
as a record of his past greatness
fading the foams of adversities,
as if immaturity
were the advantage of inimitable initiations
in the grassless monuments of the lines.

Leaning on his mute and ungrounded crutches
loneliness set the great dance,
painting the complaint
as if it were the great acquisition of his life.
Rusty fumes his old rhetoric,
scattered with misleading words
that he would reconstruct
only to hide his camouflaged idleness.

He matured via his peaked indignation
and misled fake escapes
hoping for what is unhoped-for;
supplications with sobs and bowing of the head
in the vast emptiness of the blind;
shattered gray-green dreams
drowned in annihilations and expropriations.

I did not plough the undug soils of his destiny,
so, how should I decrypt
his begrudging thought?
His haunted complaint
just fell into my hands
in an outburst and, of all days, on a celebration.
I sat up on his old wooden stool
and like the confessor
I was accountable for the fate of others.
Ι accounted for “blind luck”
that managed to appear like a jewel
on the snow-white necks of the ladies.
Sightless words of consolation,
only fit for the naive I would characterize them
but they were the only ones,
that I dragged up,
from the locked drawer of my embarrassment.

Sold out garments his whole life,
not even at half price,
thrown away into the blast furnace along with the waste,
into the invisible, that is, Caiada of the absolute nothingness.
The whole of the lamenting story made me kneel down,
With heartbreaking and strong articulate words
and I turned my head up,
looking for an icon to load the regrets.
I did not venture a word all this time,
But only bummeled staring at the alleys of my mind,
lest I found a word
to alleviate the torment, we both experienced.
Stubborn denials of mine stood up,
as if everything had been planned and prefabricated
to conclude the act as “great and perfect”.

I resisted quite strongly
To the cries of despair revealed to me,
and even found the time to cry for the redemption,
for which, unfortunately, I had not wasted
even a single moment in so many years, to study.
I just pushed my way on
and did not as much stop for a moment,
to listen to his martyrdom
and maybe… sing to him softly,
two verses on the way to spring.
So, I walked away and proudly looked ahead
without a note of compassion
–inexpensive work of an ordinary man.
All I finally managed was to make his life…
“my martyrdom as well”.


And I, who sieved my vague life through a sieve of absinthe,
through incandescent millstones,
I found everything wanting, in the count
and all were crumbled down into Caiadas, the crypt of Babylon,
thus, sending me
again, into the pearl’s storm.
In the land of gold hooks
nest our visible significant beings.

Poem by Voula Memou

About the Poet

Paraskevi (Voula) Memou is a film director. She was born and raised in Kalavryta, in the north of the Peloponnese. She is a graduate from the Stavrakos School of Directing and in her career she collaborated with several famous actors and singers. In 1984 and 1985 her poems were published in Hydria and Ostraka magazines. Her first directorial work was the short film ‘ALTAMIRA’ and on the State TV Channel, she collaborated on children’s entertainment shows and directed ecological documentaries, while she also collaborated as a chronographer in local newspapers, and did radio shows for Radio Aigio. The film based on her poetry, entitled ‘The Great Power of the Sea’, was shot in 2008. She also collaborated as a news journalist with many newspapers in the Peloponnese. In 1985 her first collection of poems entitled “Traversing” came out. In 2006 she published a book with news articles, entitled “Living Speechlessly”. Her poems have been published in many anthologies and the Greek Literary encyclopedia HARRY PATSI hosts her poems. Her collection of poems entitled ‘Upon Andromeda’s Rock’ came out in 2018. The collection of poems entitled ‘Behold the Man” came out a year later, in 2019. She has won numerous awards in international competitions. In the latest edition of the Nosside World Poetry Prize – Nosside World Poetry Prize, in 2019, one of her poems, entitled ‘Supplicants of the Gods of the Poor’, translated into Italian by Giorgia Karvounaki, was awarded a prize. In 2021 her fourth poetry collection was published in Greek entitled Unruly Words. She is a member of the Board of the Panhellenic Association of Litterateurs.