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The Wandering Youth and the Mother

Iraklion Port in Crete

Iraklion Port in Crete, Greece. Click for credits and to enlarge

“Thus, one morning I removed myself again from my family home. My weeping mother asked:

‘How long will you keep going away? How long?’

I wanted to answer (how unfeeling youth is!): as long as I’m alive, Mother; as long as I’m alive. But I restrained myself. I kissed her hand, and the sea carried me off.”


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

About Man of Roma

I am a man from Rome, Italy. I’m 60 and a Roman since many generations. In my blog,, I’m writing down my meditations. The idea behind it all is that something 'ancient' is still alive in the true Romans of today, of which few are left.

24 responses »

  1. Reminds one of Khalil Gibran.
    Paul C.

    • You mean a similar passage in Khalil Gibran’s work?

      You woke up early this morning btw Paulus.

      Works such as these are not written any more, I wonder why. And Kazantzakis’ Report to Greco is out of print in English but nobody cares.

  2. So, is this some kind of short-fiction? I mean, there is no context and sea carried me off is a bit confusing as to what actually happened. But it creates a deep impact.

    Destination Infinity

    • It is a quote from a novel that I mention at the foot of the page. Greek Kazantzakis’ words usually have great impact. He wrote this last novel when he was old (80 something maybe? I’m not sure). Glad you popped in, DI.

      It is about the author who, young, was about to go on a long journey. Being from Crete (an island of the Mediterranean) he left on a ship.

      • I wonder how people traveled on long unsafe journeys on ships during previous centuries. Now I get the context, and I guess the author should have been good. What language did he write in?

        Destination Infinity

        • Well, this happened at the beginning of 1900. Ships were already safe enough. He wrote in modern Greek and Crete was and is a Greek island. I know this Western stuff may be obscure to an Eastern man.

  3. Hola, hombre de Roma,
    For me Kazantzakis words make a lot of sense right this moment. No need for any context whatsoever. Thank you.
    Un abrazo,

  4. Hola Ana, welcome back. I understand, you are a mother. DI is an Indian youth. He needed context. While our cultures are similar. Ciao!

  5. Not to change the subject, but has anyone heard from Zeus?


    • Hi Commentator! Personally I haven’t. He had decided to stop blogging.

    • He drops me an interesting link every so often. A poof, he is not.

      • ‘Poof': onomatopoeic, it seems. I never cease to learn. English is surely a very rich language. We all miss him.

        • Sir Ralph Richardson recounts a story of a production of Othello, in which the director embraced the idea that Iago had a suppressed boy crush on the Moor and acted from not just ambition but personal hurt and jealousy. Richardson was not told of this but noticed he was being directed in a way he found strange and inscrutable, and finally called out the director and stage manager on the matter. The director blustered and bloviated for a while in Freudian language as Richardson became even more confused, finally saying bluntly: “Iago is a poof, you see! He is a poof!”

          Richardson said “I’m leaving until you gentlemen come to your senses.” And he took the train home and stayed there until they changed the concept.

          Totally irrelevant, but I can never see the term “poof” without thinking of it.

          I don’t know to this day why Zeus dropped off the blogosphere quite so abruptly and completely. I’ve known him for probably 15 years and he has this way of appearing and reappearing when least expected.

          • Irrelevant but interesting. All I remember about Ralph Richardson is his role as Zivago’s father-in-law in David Lean’s excellent film. I was 17 and of course we all had a crush on Julie Christie’s blue eyes. Irrelevant too.

            I am tempted to be a poof as well, in the sense of disappearing and then reappearing – but I try to fight it :-)

            I had an exchange of mails with Zeus soon after he left the blogosphere. Then I didn’t hear from him any more.

      • To you, perhaps. To me, so!


  6. hello roma,

    if you ever come to chicago, i shall meet you.

    better yet, jenny and hers and jacob and i visit roma. this is on my wish list.

    on the last leg of the flight home last summer, i met a woman from my neighborhood in cleveland who owned a condo in israel only blocks away from my aunt and uncle, renovated and more spacious… like your rental.

    a great place to rendezvous if anyone would like to meet in tel aviv.

  7. where did my first comment go?

    look in your junk folder please.

    the image you chose reminds me of Marmarus, although it is much more modern and developed since my youth.

  8. Dafna,

    I thank you for your kindness. I hope there will be a chance of meeting one another. I guess you mean Marmarus in Turkey. I think I was there a long time ago. Lovely. As far as us, we are not planning to go to the New World this next summer but stay here and look after our business: no vacation this year alas. We might though possibly go to India or China next Christmas but nothing is planned. Ciao!


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