I realise that I missed last week’s poem. Do forgive me. To make up for it, there will be two poems this week.Â The first is a little bit of Homer, in honour of the conclusion of my Greek Poetry course — the exam was last Wednesday, April 16.Â Part of this course was a presentation (I discussed the issue of performance in Pindar, an issue I think is completely missing the part and tends to read POETRY and ART as though it were stage directions), and part of the presentation was to memorise 16 lines of Greek verse.
So, in honour of Greek poetry, and Homer, and the fact that I had to memorise this in Greek with meter, here are lines 1-16 of The Odyssey (my translation):
Tell me, Muse, of the resourceful man, who was driven
to very many places when he had sacked the holy city of Troy;
he saw the cities of many men and learned their mind,
and suffered many pains in his heart on the sea,
struggling both for his spirit and the homecoming of his companions.
But he did not thus save his companions, although he was eager:
for they died in their folly,youths,
who ate from the cattle of the Sun, son of Hyperion;
and he removed from them their homecoming day.
From any point, goddess, daughter of Zeus, tell even us.
There all the others, whoever had fled the steep destruction,
were home, having fled both war and sea:
but this one, longing for his journey home and his wife,
the nymph queen Kalypso, bright among the goddesses, held back
in the hollow caves, eager that he be her husband.
But when the time of the revolving years came,
Now, don’t you want to know the end of that sentence?Â Go now to your bookstore or library and get out either Fagles’ translation, Lattimore’s translation, or Rieu’s Penguin Classics translation (rev. by his son), skip the Signet Classics, do not even glance at it, and consider that Pope is more, well, Pope than he is Homer.