the great stone close to the Barbary figs and the asphodels
the jar that refused to go dry at the end of day
and the closed bed by the cypress trees and your hair
golden; the stars of the Swan and that other star, Aldebaran. 5
I’ve kept a rein on my life, kept a rein on my life, travelling
among yellow trees in driving rain
on silent slopes loaded with beech leaves,
no fire on their peaks; it’s getting dark.
I’ve kept a rein on my life; on your left hand a line 10
a scar at your knee, perhaps they exist
on the sand of the past summer perhaps
they remain there where the north wind blew as I hear
an alien voice around the frozen lake.
The faces I see do not ask questions nor does the woman 15
bent as she walks giving her child the breast.
I climb the mountains; dark ravines; the snow-covered
plain, into the distance stretches the snow-covered plain, they ask nothing
neither time shut up in dumb chapels nor
hands outstretched to beg, nor the roads. 20
I’ve kept a rein on my life whispering in a boundless silence
I no longer know how to speak nor how to think; whispers
l ike the breathing of the cypress tree that night
like the human voice of the night sea on pebbles
like the memory of your voice saying ‘happiness’. 25
I close my eyes looking for the secret meeting-place of the waters
under the ice the sea’s smile, the closed wells
groping with my veins for those veins that escape me
there where the water-lilies end and that man
who walks blindly across the snows of silence. 30
I’ve kept a rein on my life, with him, looking for the water that touches you
heavy drops on green leaves, on your face
in the empty garden, drops in the motionless reservoir
striking a swan dead in its white wings
living trees and your eyes riveted. 35
This road has no end, has no relief, however hard you try
to recall your childhood years, those who left, those
lost in sleep, in the graves of the sea,
however much you ask bodies you’ve loved to stoop
under the harsh branches of the plane trees there 40
where a ray of the sun, naked, stood still
and a dog leapt and your heart shuddered,
the road has no relief; I’ve kept a rein on my life.
and the water frozen in the hoofmarks of the horses.
The transformation of the verse Seferis mentions in this letter into the lean and pointed closure of Epiphany, 1937 is only part of what is worth noticing in the passage. More importantly, the overall drama of turning the raw material of oneself into “art” emerges here as a quintessential aspect of the epiphanic moment to be traced in the poem. This is without doubt a crucial moment in Seferis’ struggle to turn oneself into poetry while retaining an individual, first-person, voice, yet a voice that is enabled to connect one’s own selfhood with the selfhood of others.
This dialogue, published in Theodorakis’ Journals of Resistance and included in Gail Holst’s book about the composer, clearly shows that for the imprisoned artist setting to music the entire Epiphany, 1937 was a tour de force, his own epiphanic moment in the junta’s jail cells.  Although it was apparently fully conceived that January, for quite a while the specifics of this piece seem to have been a work in progress. For instance, in March 1969, while in exile in a mountainous area in the Peloponnese, Theodorakis mentions that he added to the composition a singer, orchestra, and six voices, three male and three female, and seems satisfied with this arrangement. But his determination to set the composition to a choral voice had been clear since the previous year. To return to early January 1968 in Averof prison: Theodorakis was apparently even then working on the poem as a choral piece to be “performed with the help of his fellow prisoners. Each evening the prisoners listened to the radio in a communal hall from 7:30 to 8:30. Theodorakis used this hour to train his choir of ten prisoners.”