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Poetry  - Starlight Tower

 
My brother and I we were introduced to poetry at a very young age by our mother who used us as her captive audience to recite her poems. My very favorite poem today still remains the one that she taught us while still in elementary school. The poem was "If" and she had translated it in Greek because it was written by the British author Rudyard Kipling and we did not know English at the time. I have used it as an inspirational guide all through my life and introduced my children to it also at a young age.
 
IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling
 
For some unexplainable to me reason, in times of extreme sorrow I have found poetry to be a relief outlet which not only makes the pain bearable but initiates an outpouring of long buried and forgotten memories and putting them down on a piece of paper works as soul catharsis healing and therapeutic which almost instantaneously gives me the mental strength to be of assistance to my fellow grieving relatives or friends. An example is the untimely departure of my husband's uncle, Alex Dervenis. Uncle Alex lived in Chicago where he had his wholesale butcher business since the mid sixties. He also owned a condo in Palm Harbor that used as vacation home and occasionally he would visit us here at Starlight Tower and had fallen in love with our building. When our relatives called to let us know that uncle Alex had passed away, even though we knew that the end was near the sock was unbelievable. I remember grabbing a writing pad and a pencil, sitting down in the dinning room table and while the tears kept flowing from my eyes I started writing my goodbye to him. I kept going and going like a person possessed. I saw his life unfolding in front of me and I wanted him to know how much he had influenced our life's both my husband's and mine since both of us had lost our fathers many years ago so in a sense we were loosing our last father figure on this earth. To make a long story short, the next day we flew to Chicago for the funeral. When we arrived at the church and after paying our condolences to the family we went at the coffin to say our last goodbye to uncle Alex. As I bent down to kiss his forehead, in my right palm I was clutching tightly the folded original goodbye poem that I wrote for him the previous afternoon in my home, so I reach and slide it under the vest of his suit. I wanted him to have it for eternity and was no way in hell that I will not give it to him. I told my aunt what I have just done and I gave her a copy. She looked at it, squeezed my hand, resumed to cry and between sobs told me that I should read it for all to hear at the reception which I did. Upon finishing the reading a thunderous applause exploded. I was flabbergasted. I expected nothing but dead silence with everybody reflecting and instead it was this unreal explosion of applause deserved for a hit Broadway show. I didn't make it back to our table because all of a sudden I was surrounded by people I knew and people I didn't know, and the priest and the relatives and all were saying how successfully I had captured our uncle's life and my poem was really more like an Hymn to his life. And the best part of this story is that uncle Alex's poem resides framed in the living rooms of all his children's houses and his own. I am sorry I have not translated it for you but maybe some time in the future. And I may add a few more of my poems, ha, ha, ha....Have you written a poem? Send it to me to post it her.
 


Alex Dervenis, March 8, 2002

Alex Dervenis

Antio Qeie Aleko

 

Geia sou Kurie Proedre,

kai Qeie maV Aleko,

opou mprosta sta matia mou

se ecw kai se blepw.

 

Megalo to camogelo

ki aperanth kardia,

kai panta sou maV elegeV:

"KalwV ta, ta paidia".

 

Qumamai pou se eidame

to Pasca to perasmeno

m olh thn oikogeneia

peritrugurismeno.

 

Hsouna caroumenoV,

gelageV, tragoudouseV,

ki ap thn polu sou thn cara

sta sunnefa petouseV.

 

EcoreyeV kai Tsamiko

kai Kalamatiano

ki emeiV se kamarwname

pou 'serneV ton coro.

 

Wraia hmera htane,

panta Ja thn Jumamai,

kai ti kala perasame

kai olo na gelame.

 

EdwseV to paradeigma

arcizontaV ton coro,

ki oloi s' akolouJagame

mecri ton pio mikro.

 

Ma etsi ekaneV pantote

se olh sou thn zwh,

hsouna prwtoporoV,

eiceV polu pugmh.

 

Konta sou aisJanomaste

oloi prostateumenoi,

kako den Ja maV ebriske,

eimast' agaphmenoi.

 

MegaloV antraV, perhfanoV,

san ta yhla bouna,

ergatikoV kai timioV

katafeV polla.

 

Paradeigma se eicame

na pernoume kouragio

kai panta sou maV elegeV:

"Mprabo poulakia mou, mprabo".

 

Kai kati allo na sou pw,

Qeie pou den to xereiV,

giati alhJeia einai men,

ma den to perimeneiV.

 

Gia sena pwV milagame

otan se perigrafame

se filouV kai gnwstouV

EllhneV ki' AmerikanouV.

 

"DerbenhV" shmainei "ArcontaV"

m" olh thn shmasia,

kai prosece tiV praxeiV sou

san einai parousia.

 

Kai gia na katalaboune

akomh pio polu,

legame: San ton "Nono"

pou 'coun' oi Italoi.

 

 

"Sach" kapioi ton legane,

pou htan' sto Iran,

ma oloi tote pernousane

ekei, polu kala.

 

Sebasmo kai eilhkrineia

agaph kai kaJhkon

didaske me tiV praxeiV tou

ma epratte kai kat' oikon.

 

Panta na ftashV hJeleV

konta tou kai na meinhV,

na ton akouV na sou mila,

m' agaph panta na gela.

 

S' eucaristoume Qeie mou

pou hsouna mazu maV.

Na xerhV oti Ja s" ecoume

panta mes" thn yuch maV.

 

S' eucaristoume Qeie mou

pou hrJeV sthn zwh maV.

Na xerhV pwV maV emaJeV

na Zoume thn zwh maV.

 

S' eucaristoume Qeie mou

pou hsouna "Esu",

"DerbenhV" me to onoma,

stekwmaste prosoch.

 

Kai twra sou uposcomaste,

emeiV me thn seira maV,

pwV den Ja se ntropiasoume,

oute kai ta paidia maV.

 

Giati paradeigma ecoume,

kai panta Ja koitame

thn zwh pou ezhseV

kai Ja akolouJame.

 

Epanw sta acnaria sou

o GiwrgoV Ja badhsh,

ki" olh h oikogeneia

Ja ton akolouJhsh.

 

H Elenh ki' h Reggina

me antreV kai paidia

pou oloi pono ecoune

twra mes" thn kardia.

 

Thn Manna omwV ecoune,

dipla touV konta touV

mazu touV na moirazetai

ola ta oneira touV.

 

Ki" h Qeia Basw sthrigma

autouV ki" emaV Ja ech,

einai gerh kai hrwaV

kai ola ta antecei.

 

EpisiV upocrewsi

ecei na teleiwsh

to ergo sou pou arciseV

kai den Ja se prodwsh.

 

Geia sou Qeie Aleko

kai magga "Rafine"

Kalo Taxidi na 'chV

Derbenh Aleko, Patrine!

 

Me agaph,

h anhyia sou

Louiza Dionusia Simou

 

Alex Dervenis

Chicago in Randolph Street in front of Columbus Meat Market:
Left to right: George Dervenis, Alex Dervenis, Evangelos Simos, Vaso Dervenis, Louisa Simos, Demetra Simos
 

 
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