Medea

Dato Magradze

(Georgia)

Translated by Gabriel Griffin

As patina veils the surface of bronze,
so blood veils the maestro’s countenance.
Pasolini‘s murder was decreed
for attempting to grasp the Golden Fleece [i].

…Medea walks over the rasping sands
and as she walks, seafoam bathes her feet…
The media, attempting to follow her, persist,
and distress the king with their continual pleas.

BBC:
CNN and we are deeply concerned
regarding the destiny of your children.
…The First Lady of the universe, unheeding,
walks on, ignoring the media’s hyenas.

A new poem whispers in my ears –
Medea is celebrating a fiery Mass [ii].
How vain are the media, how they insist,
but neither time, nor the tabloid press,
can now ever reach her.

The cameraman is trying to, but in vain –
waves wash away her footprints in the sand.
Rest in the peace of God, my child!
The burning fire has within it a divine sign.

Queen, I beseech you,
while I desire to be your chevalier,
I am the victim of repeated blows.
I hold in my hands a chalice,
empty of all delight [iii].

Queen, I beseech you,
if you hear my plea…
I’ll send poems as prayers to heaven nightly,
and heaven, as God is my witness, has sent me
a pass for travelling through the barriers of Time.

And I feel Time is in my grasp
when, every now and again,
I halt the flow of the world.
Let water wash away [iv] any reward,
the only reward I desire is Medea’s hand.

Medea is coming across the sands…
her walk has a beginning,
but it has no end
because Cupid’s arrow once fired [v]
desires its quarry evermore.

Modernism replaced Empire [vi] on the shore,
as Parliament replaced the anointed king,
Medea is coming
along the sands …
and seafoam bathes her feet.

A minute wildflower tucked in her hair
will bloom again with ancient hope.
Medea is coming over the sands…
and maybe she mourns, maybe has lost
the memory of her children.

The splash of the Argonauts’ oars
is followed by the antique Colchis’ refrain [vii].
I take puff after puff of my cigarette,
and follow the shore as if to the horizon.

I will sing my Ode to the Catwalk
while Paris is still Paris…
polished
and poised
as Medea walking along the sands. [viii]

Endnotes
[i] In the first stanza the poet plays with words. he uses pairs: პატინა (patina) – წაეპოტინა (“tsaepotina”- with the meaning of “grasp”). In the Georgian language, these pairs sound similar.
[ii] Service in the church
[iii] There won’t be any joy until the poet is allowed to be the queen’s courtier and walk with her in arm in arms. That’s what he desires and asks for.
[iv] May Water demolish
[v] Cupid
[vi] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_style
[vii] Home to Medea and the Golden Fleece https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colchis
[viii] In the last stanza the poet uses pairs: მოდა (Moda – meaning “trend”), – მადა (Mada – meaning “taste”), Medea, and მოდის (Modis – meaning “walking”). Their sounds are almost identical.

Dato Magradze

is a

Wandering Editor for Panorama.

Born in 1962, Dato Magradze is a famous Georgian poet and author of the lyrics of the National Anthem of Georgia. In 1984 he graduated from Tbilisi State University, faculty of philology. At different times Magradze was an editor-in-chief of various newspapers and magazines; worked at various NGOs and organizations fighting for human rights. In 1991 Magradze founded Georgian PEN center and was its president till 2010. He became the Minister of Culture of Georgia in 1992 and held this post till 1995. Magradze authored numerous poetry collections and his works are translated into many languages including German, English, Italian, Turkish and Russian. His book “Giacomo Ponti” is part of teaching materials of the school “Don Bosco” in Borgomanero. He has been a member of the Academy of American poets since 2009. Magradze is a participant and laureate of different literary festivals inc: Lugo, Genoa, Orta, Lugano, Eboli. Among many literary awards and prizes, in 2011 David Magradze was awarded with a title of Cultural Ambassador and Honourable Academician by Universum – Swiss international society of Culture. In the same year the Swedish academy Nobel committee acknowledged Magradze with a nomination for the Nobel Prize in literature. In 2013, Magradze was honoured with the Diploma de’onore Academia mondiale della poesia“ – Verona member of world academy of poetry, Italy. In 2023, Magradze was awarded the Cervantes Institute's medal of recognition in Madrid.

Gabriel Griffin

is a

Guest Translator for Panorama.

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