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Our students translate poems from Greek to English: Lia Siomou is the poet.

Lia Siomou

Short Biography

Lia Siomou was born and raised in Athens, Greece. She graduated from the University of Athens with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and she came to US to continue graduate studies at Michigan State University (MSU) where she received her Master’s degree in Science (Biochemistry). She has worked as a researcher both at MSU and Northwestern University in Evanston Il.  Lia then worked for 18 years as a scientist with the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) at Argonne National Laboratory, in the Chicago suburbs. 

Lia has published six poetry collections (Erodios, Alkyonides, Magiostefano, Spondi Oneirou, En gi erimo,  and Attica).

Her books published in Greece by two prominent publishing houses (Dodoni, and Gavrielides) have received excellent reviews by well-known poets and authors (Manos Eleftheriou, Kiki Dimoula, Orestis Alexakis, Thanasis Kostavaras, Georgios Manousakis, etc). Two articles in Chicago’s Greek Star have provided twice in depth analysis of her poems and style. 

Lia Siomou participated on June 24,   reciting her poem “Take me with You”, and representing Greek poetry among 7 more poets from different countries at a celebration of Dante’s Divine Comedy that took place at the Field Museum of Natural History.  The Light and Sound Installation, “Divina Natura” was designed by the internationally renowned artist Marco Nereo Rotelli .

The last few years Dr Athanasios Zervas, composer and professor at the University of Macedonia Greece has set four of Lia’s poems to music and has presented the songs at concerts at the Athens Conservatory, Northwestern University, Chicago State University, Univ. of Thessaloniki, various halls in the Chicago area and at the Odeion School of Music in Skokie.

 

Our student’ s translations

Translated by Sophia Ellinas, MOGK103

Like Alice

 

So many things around me

Children’s toys, clothes, jewelry

In so, so many stores

A maze, a quest of desire

By height and width, by mental dimensions

And so much world that goes and comes all around me

It troubles me to think all of this

And the stars in heaven are infinitely many

And the distance between the stars is light years

And as mine as those of my fellow men

I feel lost and small

Like Alice, in the Land of Wonder

 

Winter

 

The cold lake of the northern breath

Peaceful moonlight on sugar ice

And the stars’ rays light up these crystals

Faintly playing with blowing breath.

 

And the trees watch, the face of winder

I search for memory, in the sweet night.

Breathing serenely, like she who doesn’t extinguish

And a single hope in the starlight.

 

A lost love in the wandering mind

Some thought touches the creased heart.

And there inside the cold, joy blossoms

A flimsy hope gives breath.

 

In a January night, cold skies

I remember and old life, spring.

Don’t bury them, snow, and northern wind don’t take them

And bring them nightingales in their permissible nests.

 

Translated by Pedro Triantafyllidis De Oliveira,  MOGK103

The same story (Η Ίδια Ιστορία)

There are so many signs of the coming of spring. The winds dangerously grow large, and the days slowly get longer. The cold surface of the lake crumbles, and the free water bathes the sunshine and shimmers. The breaths of the south  sweep along the shattered ice, pushing it to the lake’s norther shore. The birds are another story. They stir up and yell, flying together, little by little, towards the sunrise in the mountain. I don’t see the nests that they prepare, but I can imagine them. The liquid earth, frozen from the snow and the cold, starts to appear, and the promise of the spring which will nurture it makes it smoke from excitement and incense the creation, the time, the sacredness of dawn. The dull dew, sacrament and rite in the breath of creation, covers everything with a magic veil. The ghostly world thinks it hides inside the veil, magical.

 

The not humans in their homes, the same story. They turn on the television for the morning news, lower the heat slightly. The cost of heating will be lower this month.

Witch sea (Θάλασσα μάγισσα)

Your sigh, sea

the strength of the wave

in your grey stretch

erases my haze.

My footprints that they erased

in the wave’s embrace

gave my love

sea on the beach.

 

The grey birds passed by

and the thoughts flap

you tell memories and they dragged

their quiet plumage.

The dreams that I joined

in your fresh breath

to the seagulls they gave

freshness from your tissue.

 

The grey sun, clouds

filter the sunrays

fog, a wet mist

waters the pages.

Sea, you are a witch

and you took my joy.

Sea, lighthouses, sighs

and my bitter dreams.

 

Translated by Elias Bowen Sicalides, MOGK203

Coins

In life, we think one thing or another.
At the end, there are coins, the price of the honored.

We look at life; we see mirages.
And perhaps more stars
are reflections of only a few.

Truths hidden in shadows.
Lives played with dice for some coins.
Palm readings of the situation.
And we choose one.

And so we inscribe our path
in the idea of the mirage
of the possible utopia.

Sparkle

I saw the wave of the coast and remembered
the rustle of the poplar and you returned to mind.
How could I have denied such happiness
which closed the door to the heat of the sky?

And with the wings of the wind I came and embraced you
a remorse in desolate, bitter silence.
O, that I could again grow a little older
in a heavenly dream and utopian opulence.

Shadows from dreams you think wrapped me
the branches of the willow sad, suffocating.
For years hopes went on, and mixed peacefully
highlights of the lake from mythic castles.

And fairy tales, utopias, stars, flowers
knitted a colorful wreath of life.
The breezes of summer wilt more
as all things remain in the wreath of the mind
one of sweet May.

 

Translated by Panos Voulgaris, MOGK203

Empty nests

If only, My God, to blossom

in my earth one blossom

with petals, droughts,

and pink color

one small and humble

something like an asphodel

to look at and see

all  I love on earth.

 

If only in the great drought

in my desert plain

if the poppies blossomed

with hugging ear

and white daisies

and with the neck yellow

to ask them if my old concern

loved me.

 

If only it was on the window

of my poor house

a marjoram spreading

its scent  to people

and red carnation

looks of my beloved one

to decorate my deserted

empty nest.

 

Translated by Panos Voulgaris

 

The brazier of today’s technology and its deadly fumes

 

The night had a scent of burnt wood and it reminded me of winter nights in Athens. I was feeling its chilliness in my face as I was breathing the characteristic fragrance of the wood charcoal or the anthracite that brought memories of a lighted brazier in the neighborhood, the old days, my childhood years. I remember the sparks that flashed small faints near the ignited charcoal. And I, with my red cheeks and cool face, was looking at the lady that altered the ember.

 

Today the people in our world are in fact weird. The fresh air that God made suffers a lot. It’s forced to be channeled in Minoan labyrinths in air conditioners of the buildings of architectural ideology, and is filtered in the oldest filters, dirtiest, unhealthy, filled with bacteria rotten pipes. And after all this filtration, the dirty air is inhaled by the people. In the modern buildings, where people today live and work, windows don’t exist. That’s how we save energy. We breathe in recirculated air everywhere.

 

Posted in Greek Language.

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