Nov 202010

The wedge sank five times into the clay,
and a word, which had been spoken in a breath,
lay still until the gods’ names were forgotten.
Then, when strangers took the tile in hand,
while stars sailed into the dark
beyond the world, the dead tongue
in the clay began to speak.

 Comments Off on Brooks Haxton – Cuneiform
Nov 202010

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright.

 Comments Off on William Butler Yeats – Where My Books Go
Nov 202010

The hunter in the hills
tracks down
every hare and every roe
crackling on
through frost and snow.
If someone says
“Here’s a beast already shot,”
He leaves it there.
So too my lust
pants to chase
what runs away
but flits on past
what’s there to stay.

translated by Stanley Lombardo and Diane Rayor

 Comments Off on Callimachus – Epigram 45
Nov 202010

All things by nature are ready to get worse,
Lapse backward, fall away from what they were,
Just as if one who struggles to row his little
Boat upstream against a powerful current
Should but for a moment relax his arms, the current
Would carry him headlong back again downstream.

translated by David Ferry

 Comments Off on Virgil – from the “First Georgic”
Nov 202010

The material is beautiful and precious
Though the cost is cheap, the quality is high…
Stretching out when it opens and rolling up
when put away…
To convey your affection to a distance of ten thousand miles away,
With your refined thought written at one corner.

 Comments Off on Fu Xian (234-294) is thought to have written the first poem on (or about) paper