The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Sunday


Epigrams
Translated by Burton Raffel



Message to the Living (Unknown)

I'm dead, but waiting for you, and you'll wait for someone:
The darkness waits for everyone, it makes no distinctions.


Sailors (Simonides)

These men lying here were carrying honors to Apollo.
One sea, one night, one ship carried them to their graves.


An Epitaph (Theodoridas)

This is a drowned man's tomb. Sail on, stranger,
For when we went down the other ships sailed on.


An Epitaph (Plato)

I am a drowned man's tomb. There is a farmer's.
Death waits for us all, whether at sea or on land.


Amyntor (Antipater of Sidon)

Amyntor, Philip's son, lies in this Lydian soil.
His hands were full of iron war.
No sickness led him into the darkness:
He died holding his shield over a wounded friend.


--------

The above are from today's Poet's Choice column by Edward Hirsch in The Washington Post Book World, on Pure Pagan -- a collection of seven centuries of Greek poems and fragments, selected, titled and translated by Burton Raffel. "The Greek term epigramma means 'inscription,' and, indeed, the epigram began as a poem compressed enough to be carved onto the limited space of a monument, a tombstone or the base of a statue. Precision of language has always been the hallmark of the form."

thefridayfive (It's Sunday...really?):
1. who was your favorite band/musican when you were younger? Paul Simon.
2. why? Duh, because he rocks.
3. are they still your favorite/one of your favorites? Yes.
4. what is your favorite of their songs? If I have to choose one, it's "A Poem on the Underground Wall".
5. are there any specific lyrics you hold dear?
These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky
Therse are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry baby, don't cry
("The Boy in the Bubble")

And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we've lost.
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm,
Couplets out of rhyme,
In syncopated time
And the dangled conversation
And the superficial sighs,
Are the borders of our lives.
("The Dangling Conversation")

The mirror on my wall
Casts an image dark and small
But I'm not sure at all it's my reflection.
I am blinded by the light
Of God and truth and right
And I wander in the night without direction.
So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend with the rainfall.
("Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall")

"Fools" said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my arms that I might reach you."
But my words like silent raindrops fell
("The Sound of Silence")

I been Norman Mailered, Maxwell Taylored.
I been John O'Hara'd, McNamara'd.
I been Rolling Stoned and Beatled till I'm blind.
I been Ayn Randed, nearly branded
Communist, 'cause I'm left-handed.
That's the hand I use, well, never mind!
(A Simple Desultory Philippic")

Old friends,
Winter companions,
The old men
Lost in their overcoats,
Waiting for the sunset.
The sounds of the city,
Sifting through the trees,
Settle like dust
On the shoulders
Of the old friends.
("Old Friends/Bookends")

The Mississippi Delta was shining
Like a National Guitar
I am following the river down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war
I'm going to Graceland.
("Graceland")

Now from his pocket quick he flashes,
The crayon on the wall he slashes,
Deep upon the advertising,
A single worded poem comprised
Of four letters.
And his heart is laughing, screaming, pounding
The poem across the tracks rebounding
Shadowed by the exit light
His legs take their ascending flight
To seek the breast of darkness and be suckled by the night.
("A Poem on the Underground Wall")



If this (pointed out to me by ashinae) is true, I will happily pay for the ROTK EE and not utter any more complaints. God I'm easy; give me Boromir and I shut up.

It's raining, and I think we are going to the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. Maybe I will be able to see ships on the harbor in the mist. (Some comments are in this locked entry.)
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