Just as he locked the door, as he pocketed the key,
as he glanced over his shoulder, they arrested him.
They tortured him until they tired of it.
'Look,' they said,
'the key is your key, the house is your house,
we accept that now; but why did you put the key
in your pocket as if to hide it from us?'
They let him go, but his name is still on a list.
A day like any other at first; but here come the mourners,
scuffing their feet, heads down, as if bone-weary.
They are wearing coats that no longer quite fit; in the pockets,
pieces of funeral-bread too dry to eat.
When they think no one's looking they let the fragments fall.
The dead man's mother, wrapped in her black, collects the crumbs—
evidence for when the survivors come to trial.
translated from the Greek by David Harsent
In Secret: Versions of Yannis Ritsos
Enitharmon / Dufour Editions