Saturday, January 3, 2009

Winter scene

“Bring wine,” Alcaeus demanded, “Wine and truth.”

Here is a poem by him from an encyclopaedia I plundered from my mom’s school library.


“Zeus rains upon us, and from the sky comes down
enormous winter. Rivers have turned to ice….

Dash down the winter. Throw a log on the fire
And mix the flattering wine (do not water it
Too much) and bind on round our foreheads
Soft ceremonial wreaths of spun fleece.

We must not let our spirits give way to grief.
By being sorry we get no further on,
My bukchis. Best of all defences
Is to mix plenty of wine, and drink it.”


Alcaeus loved Sappho. She refused his love. They have vanished in the cold sea of indifference that sweeps everything, but, some of their poetry did reach the shores. It has endured. I recall Franny’s gorgeous letter, her devotion to Sappho and to think that I did not even know about her before Franny.

1 comment:

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