Thursday, August 07, 2014

One Grasshopper

I see you there in the daylilies, ready to leap, 
(And did at the fake click of the iPhone camera,)
You and your cohort might be the reason 
so many crows are foraging over the lawn now.
High summer and heat. Queen Anne's lace in bloom everywhere!

Dog Days
ALKAIOS, 7th century BCE

Wet those thirsty pipes, my friend, with two parts water,
one part wine, for now the Dog Star swings around again
to parch the world----the scourge of everything alive
except that ghost bloom of a thistle and the dry cicada
ringing with an iron rasp under the wilted leaves. Now
our women bleed for love and find us wizened in the heat,
dry from the gourd with brains arattle into the creaking knees.

Translated by Brooks Haxton in DANCES for FLUTE and THUNDER; praises, prayers and insults, PORMS FROM THE ANCIENT GREEK, Viking Penguin, 1999, page 14.

It is wonderful to think about the fact that after thousands of years,thistles still  finish their blooming with puffs of whitish down. And cicadas still make their harsh sounds. I am partiularly fond of the translator's use or formulation of the word "arattle." Sleep well.

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