Sunday, 14 February 2010

Red Cheese (Κόκκινο τυρί)

Apart from St Valentine's Day, it's also Cheesefare Sunday today, and the last day of pre-lenten carnival silliness, known as Apokries in Greece. I'm joining in the fun with this silly post.

We find ourselves in Athens, in 1966. The poet, Mr Timoleon Famfara, of low acclaim, is publishing a new collection of verse. He's speaking with his publisher's assistant, Vasili Vasilaki, who works for pittance, but believes, above all, in loyalty to the company.

(Segment from the film "Wake up, Vasili!" Ξύπνα, Βασίλη!)

Poet: Did you read it?

Vasili: Did I read it? Did I ever! I read it, I ate it, I gobbled it all up, I learnt it off by heart!

Poet: And which one did you like?

Vasili: Which one did I like? Which-- Which-- Which one should I choose first? ... 'Good morning Yiani', 'Broad bean seed'...

Poet: So, you like broad beans?!

Vasili: What's that you say, Mr Famfara? You've cooked them so-- I mean, you've composed them in a-- a-- ...

Poet: ... a sarcastic tone, yes, yes! I'm so funny and satirical when I want to be! Do you recall the poem 'Red Cheese'?

Vasili: Oh, Mr Famfara, if I don't know the poem 'Red Cheese', then what do I know?!

Poet: Of course, you would know it! Recite it to me.

Vasili: Recite it to you?! Oh, let me think, now, let me think... er, er... Just give me the opening word.

Poet: Red--?

Vasili: Red--? Red--? Ah, yes!
"Red cheese
we were offered
at the table
where we feasted.

Red cheese,
we gaze at
and deliberate;
but such a cheese--"
Poet: "We don't partake!"

Both: Ha ha ha!
Poet: "Its colour fine
aroma sweet,
but from inside--

Vasili: "Repugnant sleaze!"

Poet: Yes, yes! Wonderful! Ha ha ha! It has such a profound meaning, that poem, doesn't it?!

Vasili: Oh yes, of course, the entire satire of the communist ideology, it's embodied in there, inside that very cheese!

Poet: Wonderful, wonderful! You really do understand my poetry!

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