Interpretation of “Idle Days” by Diafana Krina

In this entry, I translate a fine Greek rock song from the late 1990s and then provide philosophical commentary on its profound words:

Ερμηνεία: Διάφανα Κρίνα
Μουσική:  Διάφανα Κρίνα
Στίχοι:   Διονύσης Καψάλη

Ξέρω πως θα'ρθει και δε θα'μαι όπως είμαι
να τον δεχτώ με το καλύτερο παλτό μου
Μήτε σκυμμένος στις σελίδες κάποιου τόμου
εκεί που υψώνομαι να μάθω ότι κείμαι

Δε θα προσεύχομαι σε σύμπαν που θαμπώνει
Δε θα ρωτήσω αναιδώς «πού το κεντρί σου»
Γονιός δε θα 'ναι να μου πει «σήκω και ντύσου,
καιρός να ζήσουμε, παιδί μου, ξημερώνει»

Θα'ρθει την ώρα που σπαράσσεται το φως μου
κι εκλιπαρώ φανατικά λίγη γαλήνη
Θα'ρθει σαν πύρινο παράγγελμα που λύνει
Όρους ζωής και την αδρή χαρά του κόσμου

Δε θα μαζεύει ουρανό για να με πλύνει
Δε θα κρατά βασιλικό ή φύλλα δυόσμου
Θα'ρθει την ώρα που σπαράσσεται το φως μου
Performance:  Diafana Krina
Lyrics:       Diafana Krina
Music:        Dionysis Kapsalis

I know it will come and I will not be as I am
to welcome it with my best coat
Neither absorbed in the pages of some volume
where I ascend to learn that I stand

I will not be praying to a universe that dazzles
I will not rudely ask "where is your sting"
It will not be a parent to tell me "stand and dress up,
time for us to live, my child, it dawns"

It will come the hour my light is torn apart
and I beg fanatically for a bit of calmness
It will come like a fiery edict which loosens
ties of life and the ample happiness of the world

It will not be gathering sky to cleanse me
It will not hold basil or spearmint leaves
It will come the hour my light is torn apart

As always with art, there is no single truth to be had in its interpretation. Each person can feel different emotions and relate to those lyrics based on their unique experiences. It is why no matter the era, we find something elusive yet uniquely inspiring in our creative endeavours.

Reading the poem, I can tell how the ambiguous figure which will arrive unexpectedly could be the personofication of death. Or, perhaps, that of love. Though it might as well be a more abstract form of interruption from our normality. Both death and love are as much, though we can also think of any event that catches us by surprise, only to enlighten us—and forever remake us—in the most profound way.

The poetic light which is torn asunder is the personalised truth each of us holds dear and lives by. It manifests as a set of beliefs and concomitant patterns of behaviour. In essence, this light is the malleable part of our selfhood: the concatenation of experiences and thoughts that form our impression of self.

When faced with such an interruption, we can only understand what “it” is intuitively. We know it when we feel it and shall no longer do what we used to. In the case of non-lethal events, these are the turning points in our life, those phases when we are poised to let go of all the burdens we keep rolling uphill, to finally explore those new vistas.

The way the poem describes this interruption is akin to a rude awakening. It is not waiting for us to come to terms with it, nor to negotiate some compromise between the reality it ushers in and our status quo. There is an urgency and immediacy to it: a catharsis. Whatever we thought we cherished is now but an empty shell, an idol of a falsehood that must be left behind for us to proceed.

Moments such as these need not be pleasant nor pretty in the immediate term. They still lead us to a new beginning; a state that ultimately constitutes a departure from our current path. Apart from affinity, there is conflict in the cosmos. It is in those incredibly cataclysmic clashes that new galaxies are born and forms of life transfigure, only to all be conflagrated anew.

Whatever the form of this abrupt termination of our quotidian affairs, it lies outside our control. It will arrive whenever it wants and be manifest in any way the circumstances render possible, to remind us once again how little our will matters.

All we can do is experience what is present, to the extent that we can; not because it matters, but simply due to the fact that we are in the here and now as this specific “I”. If there is another present to be experienced, we shall live it once again, despite our volition. Though, perhaps this time, with a sense of relief and lightness, having realised that we are not in charge of what is happening at-large.