The Old Man and the Water Flowing

An old man in Crete

An old man in a café, Crete, Greece. Click for credits

“I saw an old man kneeling on the stones. He was leaning over a channel, and watching the water run, his face bathed in inexpressible ecstasy. It seemed as though his nose, mouth, and cheeks had vanished; nothing remained but the two eyes which followed the water as it flowed between the rocks. I went up to him.

‘What do you see there, old man ?’ I asked him.

And he, without lifting his head or removing his eyes from the water, replied:

‘My life, my life which is running out…’  “


[From Report to Greco by Nikos Kazantzakis (translation by P.A. Bien)]

Published in: on March 20, 2012 at 4:35 pm  Comments (19)  
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19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I loved “inexpressible ecstasy!” such a stimulating phrase. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you Ryan and welcome here. Those two words in fact reveal the deep spirituality of this passage, not at all sad or pessimistic in my view.

      • Very nice writing. I don’t have all of my work up yet but I whipped up a rather nice piece last night. I am currently under going the early construction phases for my first book.

        • I read your poem on television. Well written (and true). I’m sure you’ll love blogging – this notepad, you call it – more and more. Good luck Ryan!

  2. May we have more of Kazantzakis? I must get this translation.
    I hope you are keeping well, MoR?

    • I am well, don’t worry dear Geraldine. I’ll post more of Kazantzakis in your honour.

  3. I’m glad to hear this. Grazie.

  4. xhsdut yee

    • I wish you knew what it means, but I can’t tell ya ;-)

      • Not so fast, Roma. This might be my own cipher now.

        YOU don’t know what it means.

      • Nice twist, and tough breed, you Americans. Should a Roman surrender? Well, to a beautiful woman, yes :-)

  5. Nice image of life and our status as spectators of our own show.
    Paul C.

    • I’ll be there Paul. I have a steak waiting.

    • Our life as our own show – intriguing concept. And that the water may flow as exuberant (and as long) as possible, Paulus amicus.

  6. Lovely! I shall acquaint myself with the rest of the book.

    • I think it is out of print. Maybe Amazon has got a few second hand copies. Oh I am sure you’d love it Rosaria.

  7. Would we could just watch life flow by. For ever and ever.

    • Me too, and surrounded by many many good friends, such as you.

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