Chryssoula Argiriadou wrote under the pen-name of Zoe Karelli. Born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1901, Karelli is one of Greece’s favorite poets. Her work speaks to the hard questions of life, but is filled with an optimistic sense of hope. Karelli is viewed as a pioneer feminist in Greece. Her writing career begun as a writer of short stories. She published ten collections of poetry. Karelli was the first woman of letters to be elected to the Academy of Athens in 1982, and received the coveted Ouranis Award for her complete works in 1978. She died in her beloved Thessaloniki in 1998 at the age of 96.
They made packages of the human presence,
whatever remained of their bodies,
One name one date is what is left
in the light of life, who laughed,
He may have been insignificant in his life.
beyond the cruelest struggle beauty exists
in young manhood a strong tree.
and I lament the destruction of human beings.
for us to put the dead behind us,
Brothers, I can tell you with passion
(of others or our own?).
Let us comprehend submission,
I think of the human presence,
That awakens so much love,
Pains and feelings, passions
That is strength and beauty
Then remains a faceless shadow.
Translated by Rae Dalven