Oct 312017
 

To learn just who you are
Look at tombs as you walk.
They hold the bones, the powdered dust
Of kings and tyrants, of wise men,
Of men proud of their noble fathers,
Of men glorying in their gold and their glory
And their beautiful bodies.
And when the time came
What protected them against death?
Nothing. Everyone living dies the same death.
Look at tombs and learn just who you are.

 Pure Pagan: Seven Centuries of Greek Poems and Fragments (Modern Library Classics). trans. Burton Raffel

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Oct 292017
 

We all pray for it
Before it comes,
Then blame it
When it arrives.
Old age is a debt
We like to be owed,
Not one we like to collect.

Pure Pagan: Seven Centuries of Greek Poems and Fragments (Modern Library Classics). Trans. Burton Raffel.

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Oct 272017
 

I brooded on dark water,
was neither fish nor bird,
an unembodied voice
that made all things by word,

made light, space, words and time
creatures that glow and grow,
bodies that shine above
and root, glide, creep below.

Seeing all this was good
I wanted creatures who
will share my admiration
of everything I do.

Though always bodiless
I have a certain form
so modelled it in clay,
gave breath to make it warm.

You are my image, folks,
greater than all you see
in intellectual scope,
but not as great as me.

Your dreadful faults, alas,
reflect what I desired:
a need to make new life,
a need to be admired.

New lives made with labour,
bodies requiring breath,
come to displace their makers,
condemning them to death.

I will not mend the faults
that generate your woes.
Mistakes can be creative too,
as every artist knows.

(2002)

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