Monday, 7 November 2016

Athens 2016 #3 - poem

[This a thank you to Stephen Mitchell, translator of The Iliad and The Odyssey, both of which I've taken the opportunity to read whilst in Athens.]

[Needless to say, both the dactylic hexameter of Homer's original and the 'minimally iambic five-beat line' of Mitchell's translations are beyond me, so I stuck to a good-old-fashioned sonnet for safety's sake.]



And with confidence in his judgment…

I sat in sand-swept Pylos like a king
and asked that I might find the words to sing
my thanks to he that journeyed back in time
to bring the matchless gifts of Homer’s rhyme.

As when the juices from the finest peach
elide the tongue and memory to teach
the lesson – while the flesh will feed us now
the stone inside begets tomorrow’s bough –

so too the master offers to his guest
the treasures that will live within his breast,
not merely to fulfil each given role
but truly to refresh the weary soul.

One day, of course, the story will be gone;
for now – thank Zeus! – the odyssey goes on.


No comments: