04 November 2013

Poem of the Week 2013/45

I'm still trying to deal with my computer situation, so here is a fragment by Sappho to tide us over.

Must I remind you, Cleis,

That sounds of grief
are unbecoming in
a poet's household?

and that they are not
suitable in ours?

Wise words, which I will try to take to heart. The translation is by Mary Barnard. Cleis is Sappho's daughter (mentioned by name in Fragment 132).


Sibyl said...

Right as the first college apps are due for certain frantic members of my household? You could not have hit on a poem to which I could relate more acutely! As always, thank you.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Ah, thank YOU! I found your comment strangely calming and reassuring, for some reason - maybe as a reminder that I'm not the only one struggling right now. And best wishes to your Cleis; I hope she gets a college she will be happy with. Here's a bonus, and I'm sure you can relate to this one as well under the cirdumstances; Mary Barnard's translation of the aforementioned Fragment 132:

I have a small
daughter called
Cleis, who is

like a golden
I wouldn't
take all Croesus'
kingdom with love
thrown in, for her

Sibyl said...

I LOVE this piece. Spot on. I do not know the details of your struggle, but I will hazard this, Separation by W.S. Merwin:

Your absence goes through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

The power of the brevity, the devastation of it stays with me, but what I really love is that sneaky, sneaky hint of hope: stitching, not rending; things still being done, not stasis or stagnation; the person missed still being a presence in absence. May there be hope of better times ahead soon, even if it's sneaky, sneaky hope.

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Thank you, that's wonderful (both poem and analysis)

Sibyl said...

This is really fun, and you might like it. http://julianpeterscomics.com. Some great poetry, illustrated as comics (and a Yeats manga!).

Patrick J. Vaz said...

Thank you once again! I may need to wait until I'm set up with a new computer to check out the site, but I'm looking forward to it (maybe that should be "them," since I'm looking forward to two things, the site and a new computer).