"Prologue" from Kostas Zouraris' "MESA STO SAMALI I ACHEIROPOIITOS"
(as translated by G. Baloglou)
Once upon a time there was a town, at times small and at times big,
and then again small once it was big, and big again whenever it would
be preoccupied with loitering rather than devouring chops. There was
a strong wind constantly blowing through that town, and people had
given it a certain name. And yet the wind kept making fun of them,
telling everybody--"you fools, you keep naming the winds and breezes
this and that; can't you hear how much better my roar sounds than my
name? Better mind your own business and watch how much prettier your
town becomes when I sweep through it."
The powerful wind was right, for that town was soft and a bit slack
and always humid and misty, with a stagnant downtown, and also full
of mud, Sunday schools and police informers. It was nothing like
Crete, shining through its grapevines and deep-shaded carob trees
and choreographing dances of jumping braggarts and laughing women.
The windy city would become kind of pretty only towards its waterfront.
Right there, around the imposing high-rises with the silent rich girls,
tall and slender like giant golden candles, who would never go to the
Sunday school; and then it would again turn pretty way up toward the
Castle Wall, where a cluster of vagabond kids, having nothing but huge,
half way hungry eyes and legs like thin reeds, used to hang around
shabby houses that spread slow, dragging sounds, a song rigid and stern
that the waterfront's haughty girls could never play on their piano.
The powerful wind was justified to make fun of all them together. For
their town would acquire a bit of vigor and appear to be as upright
and playful as its small, terracotta churches only when he would blow
through it in full force.
Then the mud would set, the informers would shrink, and the policemen
with their tiny moustache, warped body and black-yellow nails would
just get their glances crashed against the walls of the Transfers
Department on Poland Street. Of course, nothing like Crete could ever
become of that town of wind, mud and yellow-nailed police informers
wandering around its playful terracotta churches and coffee-houses,
right in front of people's homes.
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