If the poem is an enigma.
If the poem does not offer a solution.
If the solution does exist and someone calls out that you must find it.
If that someone is you (the reader) but you do not have the key.
If the key exists and someone calls out that you must seek it.
If seeking it means that you must observe the man next to you.
If the man next to you is in fact your husband and you ask him: where is the key?
If your husband replies along the lines that it is you who have the key.
If the question ‘where is the key’ triggers an upheaval.
If the upheaval leads to the poem losing control.
If the poem turns into a dialogue (somewhat liquid).
If in the dialogue ‘all is liquefied’ and you become the man, and he the woman.
If you feign to be someone you are not.
If he who you are feigning to be is a fictional hero.
If that hero has the key.
If you ask him for the key and he answers that it is you who have the key.
If he is you.
If you must choose, you will choose to be a woman.
If he must choose, he will choose to be a man (though not a husband).
If you are a woman (then surely he’ll never see you as wife).
If he can choose, he will surely choose mistress (but where then is the wife?).
If dialogue demands roles, then you are the killer, I am the victim.
If he has given the key to the wrong woman.
If he says something witty, such as ‘Desire doubled is love and love doubled is madness.’
If she replies even more brilliantly: ‘Madness doubled is marriage.’
If love compels marriage. If marriage expels love.
If our being men and women in a poem with dialogue seeking a key represents an enigma linked to marriage.
If seeking the enigma means you will shed many tears.
If the poem tells you: ‘It’s a gap in a series, the series is you.’
If shedding and shedding tears means that the poem is here and you feel it.
If it is not just a matter of feeling the poem but also of fathoming it, you must delve deeper.
If delving deeper means deciphering words.
If deciphering words is a metaphysical endeavour.
If as Aristotle says: Poetry is ἀεὶ ζητούμενον καὶ ἀεὶ ἀπορούμενον, that which is ever elusive, that which is ever perplexing. If you seek an enigma called ‘poem’ you must delay marriage, which is itself an enigma.
If the poem is in a foreign language, how will you speak the words?
If in Greek the word ‘an’ (conditional conjunction) also means Anne (name), then the poet is present and is speaking to you.
Translated from the Modern Greek by Peter Constantine