Come here to me

If you grow weary of all the people
And your ruined world’s a misery
Don’t go in search of other places
Come here to me come here to me.
And if the evening falls and finds you
With only hopeless stars to see
Don’t fear the shadows and the darkness
Come here to me come here to me.
Come here and rest your weary head
In my embrace all lovingly
Bring back the dream into your life
Come here to me come here to me.
If you see trains leaving the station
And ships sailing out to sea
Don’t even speak of leaving with them
Come here to me come here to me.
I’m holding emeralds laced with sunlight
Brimming with love abundantly
To fill your heart alone and empty
Come here to me come here to me.
Come close and sit at my right side
Like a lost brother long out of sight
So you can share my lonely sorrow
And I can give you a bit of light!
Come here to me! Come here to me!




Rick Newton, Kent State University, United States

Translator’s notes:

This poem is punctuated by the phrase “Come to me,” which employs the emphatic first-person pronoun (ἔλα σέ μένα = “come to ME”), establishing a refrain contrasting “me” with the range of other places to which the addressee might escape. To shift the ictus of the prosaic English command “Come to me” from imperative to pronoun, and to preserve Gatsos’ iambs, I add the adverb “here” and render as “Come here to me.”

The fifth stanza’s allusion to “emeralds laced (literally, “embroidered” [κεντημένα]) with sunlight … to fill your heart alone and empty” presents a surrealistic image that runs throughout Gatsos’ oeuvre. His Amorgos (1943) ends with the metapoetic confession, “For years and years, my tormented heart, I have wrestled with ink and hammer / With gold and fire to make you an embroidery (να σου κάμω ένα κέντημα) / … to console you … / my great dark loneliness with so many pebbles around your neck, so many colored stones in your hair.” In his 1960 “Ode to Athens” (Αθήνα) he vows, “I will embroider your name immortal in stone (και τ᾿ όνομά σου αθάνατο / στην πέτρα θα κεντήσω).” In “Come Here to Me” (circa 1980) the poet again envisions versification as the creation of an embroidery that aims to provide consolation to the addressee and perhaps also immortality to the poet.

In the closing stanza, the poet confesses the same isolation as that felt by the addressee, which drives the sudden change of the poem’s final word from “me” (μένα) to “light” (φῶς). Musical performances of this song usually end in an elaborate instrumental crescendo evocative of carnival and celebration and marked by a distinctive Hadjidakis flare, perhaps suggesting that a union of poet and addressee has been effected by the song itself.