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Responses to American Poetry

The aim of this online space is to host the research work of university students or young scholars as this emerges from larger projects focusing on the American poetry scene. The objective of this initiative is to bring this kind of research activity to the attention of the general public in an attempt to further promote the exchange of ideas with regard to the process of reading, understanding and appreciating poetry writing.


Tatiani Rapatzikou 
(Associate Professor, School of English, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece; Advisor and initiative co-ordinator

Alex Visalo Rainers                      Athanasia Sandali                        Manousos Lionis


(poetic script)

As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods,
To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet, (for 'twas autumn,)

I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier.
Why is there so much noise?
Είναι οι βάρβαροι να φθάσουν σήμερα.
Beat! beat! drums!—blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows—through doors—burst like a ruthless force,

Make no parley—stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid—mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump O terrible drums—so loud you bugles blow.
Why are the war aircrafts put to motion?
Γιατί οι βάρβαροι θα φθάσουν σήμερα.
Come tell us old man,
paint the mightiest armies of earth,

Of those armies so rapid so wondrous
Of hard-fought engagements or sieges tremendous.
A line in long array where they wind betwixt green islands,
They take a serpentine course, their arms flash in the sun—hark to the
musical clank,

Behold the silvery river, in it the splashing horses loitering stop to drink,
Behold the brown-faced men, each group, each person a picture, the
negligent rest on the saddles,

Some emerge on the opposite bank, others are just entering the ford—while,
Scarlet and blue and snowy white,
The guidon flags flutter gayly in the wind.
Why are we celebrating? What are we preparing for, so grand and glorious?
Γιατί οι βάρβαροι θα φθάσουν σήμερα.
On, on I go, (open doors of time! open hospital doors!)
The crush’d head I dress, (poor crazed hand tear not the bandage away,)
The neck of the cavalry-man with the bullet through and through I examine,

Hard the breathing rattles, quite glazed already the eye, yet life struggles hard,
(Come sweet death! be persuaded O beautiful death!
In mercy come quickly.)
Why so much pain? Why do we pray for death?
Γιατί οι βάρβαροι θα φθάσουν σήμερα.
Spirit of gloomiest fears and doubts,
Spirit of many a solemn day, and many a savage scene!
Spirit of hours I knew, all hectic red one day, but pale as death next day;
Let them identify you to the future, in these songs.

Why is there war? Why do we put up with it?
Γιατί οι βάρβαροι θα φθάσουν σήμερα.
Beautiful that war, and all its deeds of carnage, must in
time be utterly lost.

Ενύχτωσε κι οι βάρβαροι δεν ήλθαν.
Ίσως θα έλθουν αύριο, ίσως την άλλη μέρα. Από βαρβαρικές αυγές η ανατολή δεν στέρεψε ακόμα.
Γι’αυτό ας είμαστε ετοιμοπόλεμοι, αν όχι πολεμόχαροι, κι ας αγνοούμε τις κραυγές των αιώνων για ειρήνη.
Oh, brothers, can't you see
this is not the way we put an end to war.

Αν σκεφτείς λίγο θα δεις.
Η βαρβαρική αυγή δεν έρχεται από την ανατολή,
δεν είναι καν ξένη,
είναι χρυσή,
σαν τον μόσχο της Διαθήκης.
…θα φυτεύαμε κρινάκια στα στρατόπεδα…
Θα φυτέψουμε κρινάκια στα στρατόπεδα.
Προσπάθησα να κλειστώ στον κόσμο μου, να μην πάρω θέση- καταδικάζω τη βία από όπου κι αν προέρχεται. Αλήθεια προσπάθησα. Όμως τα αεροσκάφη έκαναν τόση φασαρία- κι ύστερα, ήταν κι οι κραυγές- και οι σειρήνες- δεν μπορούσα πια να κάνω ότι δεν ακούω.


Bofiliou, Natassa. “Αν Ήταν Όλα Δίκαια” [“If All Were Fair”]. Spotify, Accessed  10 Jan. 2022.
Cavafy, Κonstantinos. “Περιμένοντας τους Βαρβάρους” [“Waiting for the Barbarians”]. Τα Ποιήματα [Poems]. Εκδοτική Θεσσαλονίκης [Thessaloniki Publications], 2008, pp. 38-39.
Evaggelatos, Gerasimos. “Αν Ήταν Όλα Δίκαια” [“If All Were Fair”]. Η Εποχή του Θερισμού [The Harvest Season]. Cobalt Music, 2020.
Sainte-Marie, Buffy. “Universal Soldier.” It’s My Way, Vanguard Records, 2006. Spotify, Accessed 10 Jan. 2022.


Script Writing: Manousos Lionis
Voice-over: George Margaritis
Video clips: Pixabay, Pexels
Music: Athanasia Sandali
Editing: Alex Visalo Rainers


1) Lines in bold: Whitman’s lyrics
2) Lines in italics: Other references
3) Quotes from:

Κ. Π. Καβάφης- "Περιμένοντας τους Βαρβάρους"
Buffy Sainte Marie- "Universal Soldier"
Γεράσιμος Ευαγγελάτος- "Αν Ήταν Όλα Δίκαια"

4) The golden calf is a reference to the Bible, in the Book of Exodus.
5) The clips for the video were taken from Pixabay and from Pexels, two wonderful sites for public domain resources.

Contributor Bios: Alex Visalo Rainers, Athanasia Sandali, Manousos Lionis

Contributor Reflective Pieces: Athanasia Sandali, Manousos Lionis

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