Eleonora, A Poem by Nikos Engonopoulos

Eleonora, A Poem by Nikos Engonopoulos - Nikos Engonopoulos, Photographic Portrait of the Artist
Nikos Engonopoulos, Photographic Portrait of the Artist

Eleonora, a poem by Nikos Engonopoulos, is included in the poetry collection Do Not Distract the Driver, the first of the surrealist artist, which was published by Kyklos publishing house in 1938 in 200 numbered copies.

Nikos Engonopoulos (Athens, October 21, 1907 – October 31, 1985), poet and painter, was one of the most important Greek artists of the 20th century, a pioneer of surrealism in this small country of Balkan which is commonly called Greece and officially called Hellas.

When the book with the poems of the collection was published, Nikos Engonopoulos was insulted and ridiculed by the untiring intellectuals and other relevant professionals of thought and aesthetics of the era, in this small country of Balkan which is commonly called Greece and officially called Hellas.

It is hopefully that the patina of time erased from the forefront the idols of all them which behaved unseemly, and not that of the great poet and painter Nikos Engonopoulos.

Even today he stands and looks at us with this scandalously contemplative smile, the smile of distinct irony and the always topical deep and penetrating humor of his timeless artistic creations.

Nikos Engonopoulos - Eleonora

for hands she hath non, nor
eyes, nor feet, nor golden
Treasure of hair

(front view)

her hair is like cardboard
and like a fish
her two eyes are
like a dove
her mouth
is like civil war
(in Spain)
her neck is a red
horse
her hands
are
like the voice
of the dense
forest
her two breasts are
like my painting
her belly is
the tale
of Belthandros and Chrysantza
the tale
of Tobias
the tale
of
the ass
the wolf and the fox
her sex
is
shrill whistling
in the calm
of midday
her thighs are
the last
flickerings
of the modest joy
of steam-rollers
her two knees
Agamemnon
her two adorable
tiny
feet
are the green
tele-
phone with the red
eyes

(rear view)

her hair
is
an oil lamp
that burns
in the morning
her shoulders
are
the hammer
of
my desires
her back
is the
sea’s
spectacles
the plough
of deceptive
ideograms
whirs
sorrowfully
at her waist
her buttocks
are
fish-glue
her thighs
are
like
a thunderbolt
her tiny heels
light
the
morning’s
bad
dreams

and after all
she is
a woman
half
hippocampus
and half
necklace
perhaps
she’s even
part pine
and part
elevator

Translated by David Connolly

Poem by Nikos Engonopoulos from the Collection Μην Ομιλείται εις τον Οδηγόν (Do Not Distract the Driver), 1938

  1. Engonopoulos, N.(2015). Selected Poems ( Connolly, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press Department of the Classics.
  2. Νίκος Εγγονόπουλος, Ν. (1999). Ποιήματα [Poems]. Αθήνα: Ίκαρος.

Nikos Engonopoulos: Official Site

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