top of page

Calliope Michail

Updated: Sep 12, 2019

Calliope Michail is a Greek-born mutt, poet, translator & instruments mule currently based in London. Her poetry, translations, and other writings, have appeared in Snow Lit Rev., Berfrois and Datableed (forthcoming), while her debut poetry chapbook Along Mosaic Roads (the87press) was published in 2018, and a leaflet of watercolour/erasure poetry, The Nature of the Physical Word was printed this summer by Penteract Press. She reads and performs in London, including for the European Poetry Festival, where she first presented this poem. She occasionally tweets and retweets @catonacanto.



After Anna Auzina, After Andre Breton

by Calliope Michail

“Ma femme à la chevelure de feu de bois...”

André Breton

“Mans vīrietis ar jūras acīm...”

Anna Auzina

My man with eyes of ploughed earth

With olive eyes

Behind heatwave eyelids

With walnut glances

My man grinning with a half-moon smile

My man with a jackal’s soul

Turtles on his shores

Difficult to sail through his meltemia

My man

Whose forehead is an aerial map

Along whose forehead potholed streets collide

On whose forehead marble crumbles

My man with hair of sunset shadows

With sea urchin hair

With hair that ripples like overgrown weeds

Whose cheeks are coral reefs

With fish weaving and jellyfish heaving

My man

Whose neck is a sun-kissed boulder

And whose nose is a kaiki

Whose belly billows like a white sail

My man whose chest is 6000 shorelines

Whose chest is a pair of blue shutters

Whose shoulders are unfinished developments

And dirt paths

My man with stray cats in his armpits

His shoulder blades are mountains and ravines

His waist is a wild goat

And the first wildfire

His back is a constellation

His ass is a football and yesterday’s spinach pie

His legs are ancient pillars

His arms are both the fish and their net

His feet are red mullets

His hands are tongue fish

Last year’s grapes swim down his throat

His fingers are pine needles

And oleander

His nails are crickets’ husks

And old orange peels

My man

Whose groins are isthmuses

Whose lap has salt pits

Whose dick is a pinecone

Whose balls are cockles

And apricots

My man

Whose children came out howling

Who himself has a newborn’s howl at his tongue

Draws a trail with his eyes

His eyebrows know the weight of hope

Mouth of a boiling hot spring

Ears of a limestone cave

My man cursing in one breath

Praising in that same breath

My man the wind, the asphalt, the sea

My man on his knees

If only it were just

In awe


Mans vīrietis ar jūras acīm​.​.​.

Recording of the original in Latvian:

My Man with Sea Eyes…

by Anna Auzina

Translated by Ieva Lešinska

“Ma femme à la chevelure de feu de bois.”

André Breton

My man with eyes of sea at sunset

With ice floe eyes

Behind eyelids of mist

With neon glances

My man squinting with one eye

My man with a polar bear’s soul

Seaweed on his shores

Difficult to sail through his fjords

My man

Whose forehead is an iceberg

Along whose forehead clouds float

On whose forehead snowdrops bloom

My man with hair of noon

With pussy willow hair

With hair that unfolds like a piece of silk

Whose cheeks are mown fields

With snakes crawling and tractors chugging

My man

Whose neck is a thunderstorm

And whose nose is a steamboat

Whose belly steams like soil in spring

My man whose chest is a mountain of glass

Whose chest is the wailing wall

Whose shoulders are roots of ancient forests

And castle steps

My man with Icelandic moss in his armpits

His shoulder blades are cliffs

His waist is a deer

And the first snow

His back is a ski run

His ass is a football and yesterday’s rolls

His legs are water towers

His arms are both seagulls and their nest

His feet are pike

His hands are salmon

Last years grass burns in his hands

His fingers are ultra short wave

And reed flutes

His nails are bon bons

And old seashells

My man

Whose groins are bridges

Whose lap has gravel pits

Whose dick is an icicle

Whose balls are sea pebbles

And green tomatoes

My man

Whose children being born smelled so sweet

Who himself has a baby’s mouth

Trolls mouth at nipple

Mouth of an oath of silence

Ears of a vault