18 November 2013

Poem of the Week 2013/47

I now have a slick and spiffy new computer, but I had no time this week and I'm still getting used to the new computer interface, so here's another brief bit of life wisdom from Sappho. Once again, this is from the Mary Barnard translation.

If you are squeamish

Don't prod the
beach rubble

Sappho, translated by Mary Barnard


Michael Strickland said...

There HAS to be a better translation than "Don't prod the beach rubble." How about, "Don't lift the/driftwood?"

Patrick J. Vaz said...

But I guess the quality of the translation would depend on how well it captured the tone and meaning and music of the original, and unfortunately I am not qualified to comment on that. I like your version but I think driftwood is relatively picturesque and less likely than rubble is to harbor something that would upset the squeamish. I'll start flagging other renditions of this fragment in my increasing collection of Sappho translations and so you can look forward to a plethora of comparisons sometime in the future. See what happens when you prod the beach rubble?

Michael Strickland said...

Oh goody. Having been born and raised on a SoCal beach, I've never been particularly squeamish about rotting ocean flotsam and jetsam. Further on land, it's a different story.