In the Goddess’s Name I Summon You. . .

By George Seferis 1900–1971 George Seferis

Translated By Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

Oil on limbs,
maybe a rancid smell
as on the chapel’s
oil-press here,
as on the rough pores
of the unturning stone.

Oil on hair
wreathed in rope
and maybe other scents
unknown to us
poor and rich
and statuettes offering
small breasts with their fingers.

Oil in the sun
the leaves shuddered
when the stranger stopped
and the silence weighed
between the knees.
The coins fell:
‘In the goddess’s name I summon you...’

Oil on the shoulders
and the flexing waist
legs grass-dappled,
and that wound in the sun
as the bell rang for vespers
as I spoke in the churchyard
with a crippled man.

George Seferis, "In the Goddess’s Name I Summon You" from Collected Poems (George Seferis). Translated, edited, and introduced by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard. Copyright © 1995 by George Seferis.  Reprinted by permission of Princeton University Press.

Source: George Seferis: Collected Poems (Princeton University Press, 1995)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet George Seferis 1900–1971

POET’S REGION Greece

Subjects Nature, Religion, The Body

 George  Seferis

Biography

Greek poet George Seferis was born Georgios Seferiades in Urla, near Smyrna (now Izmir, Turkey). He worked as a diplomat for the Royal Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1963. His collections of poetry include Strophe (Turning Point, 1931), E Sterna (The Cistern, 1932), Mythistorima (1935), and Logbook I, Logbook II, and Logbook III (1940, 1945, 1955). In 1914, Seferis and his family . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Religion, The Body

POET’S REGION Greece

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.