Posted by: Maria Atalanti

Published on: 09/09/2020

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22 April 1974


People who are running to catch the bus

people who are anxious, who are suffocated.

One spring dawn, you lose everything.

You are looking for some oxygen and you are drowning.

in the breathlessness of yourself.

We have built our lives on a hope

And she betrayed us like a prostitute.

Black fate, evil fate,

Oh, how much you love us all!

How much our loneliness hurts us!

The bitterness I feel is so bad.

I do not want to be alone.

Tonight – even if the sun shines-

I need love,

I need people close to me.

Have you ever had a shiver in your fever?

Let it be a child, a baby

to keep me company!

How heavy my guts are!



Calendar quotes


July 15, 1974


Today the guns thundered and filled the air with gunpowder. Today a bright and burning sun lit the earth. Hard rays struck the asphalt that was shining. The tanks were passing, one behind the other, plowing the road with their weight and going to kill………….


July 23rd, 1974


Words are hard to come out… In five days, two wars, thousands of bodies thrown into the sea, blood spilled, to see our dream to die. We have dreamed of a dawn in a golden light, a blue sea and hopes accumulated in love.  We wanted, we longed for all our lives to touch redemption on your blue beach, my homeland. We were hoping to cross again among the lemon blossoms to see the boats rocking in the quiet waters of your harbor, my homeland.

And now they are telling us that the tanks have swept your fairy beauty, now they are announcing that your uncontaminated sea has been soiled with corpses of 18-year-old young men.


Do not ask me who died and who lives. Do not ask me if he is an enemy or a friend…. Do not ask me if I am crying or if I am in pain. Just tell me, I beg you tell me, will my eyes ever see the port of Kyrenia again? Will I see again the sun sneaking into the blue waters and writing serenades with the wave…


August 3, 1974


I have watched a play on TV tonight. And I was laughing…. I am afraid I was laughing. It is so terrifying to laugh when you are living a war. Your laughter sounds like a cry of anguish, a guessing cry of your potential disaster tomorrow. Through your laughter you see murders, looting and inhuman rapes. You do not want to be tomorrow’s victim, you do not want any more victims, you want peace, serenity, and humanity. ……..


August 28, 1974


Dreams are over, hopes are lost. What shall I ask now that everything has drowned in a cloud of blood? Oh, my God, how did the blood run out these days! Destruction has struck and swept our world………..



December 22nd, 1974


Being Christmas

it must make some sense,

to mean something.

Inside our hearts

the balm of redemption should drop

and cool us with hope.

But nothing…….

This Christmas

we do not have a heart

to accept hopes

We do not have a mouth

to laugh

We do not have dreams……..

We collect

pebble by pebble

the bitterness,

the denial,

our raped dignity

and we do not weep.

Across is Pentadactylos mountain,

there are our dreams,

a port,

some killed hopes

that the seagulls are gobbling,

some hurt ideals

kneeling and bending over.

That is how this year “joy” is expressed…

Because all these years

We failed

to teach our souls

the Faith


December 25, 1974


What is this Christmas

this year?

What is this Santa Claus

the enclosed one?

What are these mangers

the tents?

What are these kids

the refugee children?

What are these hopes

the lost ones?

How is it possible Jesus

to be born this year?

And yet, Jesus,

You will never find a dirtier manger

than our land today

to redeem

with your sacrifice.

We need you, Jesus.

Now that we do not believe in you

Now that we do not love you

Now that we have lost you


Now we want you more.



31 December 1974


I wish I could walk

to reach the end

and even further

the end of the world

the infinity.



January 1, 1975


I opened the door.

and I kicked out 1974.

Go to hell

year of pain

year of death

bitterness, refugees

of the slaughter……

Go to hell 1974.

May years like you

Never come back!

Your good times

have been drowned

in the storm of your evils

in the river of your calamities.


I do not dare.

to welcome you.

I am afraid to give you


It is so deep.

the gutter of everything

that I cannot

trust you

I do not have the power.

There’s gunfire outside.

There are people shooting.

Out of joy

Out of redemption

Who knows?


But my God.

Do they not know.

that we do not have

the power

to hear

the bullets?



January 9, 1975


When the bombers were dominating in the sky,

When the deadly sounds were dominating in the atmosphere

You used to say that your existence

is insignificant.

Our soul was on its knees – I remember –

and we said – we wanted to say it–

that it was a dream.

To die

it is not as horrible

as to experience the pain

to be burned.

I remember the night

with the endless silence

the marches on the radio

the suffocating agony.

And the other night

with the shouting of the machine guns

and our hearts beating

There is no rest during war.

There is no breathing.

And then defeat came.

The heavy, unrelenting defeat.

And the buses passed with the soldiers.

the silent soldiers

and the heart went crazy.

The refugee

crawls in the plains

and in our villages

–  our remaining villages –

the sun is burning crazy

setting up obscene dances

on our rugged mountains

on our mutilated sons

our raped daughters.

Insensitive the sun

Illuminates with the same passion

our bloody country.


It was morning – I remember-

when I saw him.

Beautiful, all-gold

fresh, waking up

through the light frost

the Pentadactylos, the occupied by the Turks mountain.

And you cannot hold the mind.

because It flies, it goes away

to a little port

a flawless beauty

to Kyrenia.

Then you do not want it.

But you know it.

That it would be a relief to burst into tears.

And yet you keep your pain

you hold your tear.

for a future joy

until freedom, until peace………..


January 15, 1975


Beyond the bare Mountain

there were the fires.

in the arteries the blood

burned, moaned

the radio was repeating, awfully


Contingency war communiqué…

stressed again, irreparably

“our military forces

retreat smoothly.’

And the hearts stopped.

the eyes did not want to see

the agony was suffocating…

The blood…

Oh, my God, how did the blood jump!

I wanted to let it run.

to be redeemed……


the endless line of cars

the dust

the soldiers

Fear was king.

Everything is a lie, a lie, a lie.

I swear to my sacred homeland


The radio is lying

the fires are lies

Lie is the agony.


Dry weeping

silent sobbing…


I cry it out, I feel it.

False words

False meanings.

Everything is a lie.

The blood…

Oh, my God.

make blood

to flow slowly in my veins

Let my heart rest

Let my lip laugh

let the mouth speak

Please God, make it

all to be a lie

(how horrible the truth is today)!



March 3, 1975


You cannot face

the future

without fear,

You cannot give

hope to tomorrow

you cannot

reminisce about yesterday,

you cannot live today,

you cannot.

You are sucked in by war,

the agony,

the bitterness – your own and of the others-

the doubt

the stress.

The power…

Where is the power?

In which lines did we lose it?

In which parallels did we miss it?

I cannot bear the saturation.

The saturation of the matter

And the bottomless disproportionate

emptiness of the spirit. 

A queasiness

wraps me up.

War, despair

a tomorrow without hope…

How far are we going?

Where are we going to get to?

Our land, our homeland,

save us,

give us a rescue.

I am in pain my land; I am in pain…

I am in pain and I am disgusted.





March 13, 1975




The society, bitter cynical

immerses everything

kills beauty,

kills nobility.

Turbines, circles

and wild winds

is my soul.

Fire is my thought.

Torment my decision:

Compromise, compromise…………

Echoes to infinity.

to the empty walls of the world

to the insignificant, small society.

My decision cowls to the mountains

descends into canyons

and shouts:

Compromise, compromise.

People, small, raunchy

horribly surrendered


Respect! Beauty,

virginity, wildness.

Respect the unpolluted spring

and the free thought.


Do not desecrate anymore, do not ………

Then slowly – slowly we tried to forget and live our lives as normal people, whose lives were not crushed in the millstones of war. And it was a good decision. Because life is not about misery. It is about dealing with it. And self-pity has no use.

This has as a result an economic miracle, but the Cyprus problem has not been solved yet.

The new generations do not understand and perhaps it is better that they do not understand, the human despair that we had experienced then. It is important to look to the future and hope that no one will ever experience anything like this again. No one would see the parallel lines that determine the extensiveness of his or her existence and his or her stigma on planet earth, being crushed.

And yet, this happens all the time. On the planet we live on, people lose their identity every day from cruel trials and terrible disasters. But look, they can get back on their feet!

We humans are God’s chosen creation.  And we can be reborn from our ashes. This is our special and unique feature.

I am taking these poems out of the drawer because they are history. And I offer them to the new generations. History is always useful for young people to learn.

Accept my humble contribution.

March 13, 2011

Editing in English by Andreas Markides


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