Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

In honour of finishing the index...

ephemerita mentioned that a friend had posted a Sappho fragment and I thought, 'I could have a look at that' and try to do another free version, because well, the object of many of my poems was just in touch after ten years of silence, and good lord! pretty much cured. Passionate as those poems are, I hope, they are about memory, not about now, old married woman that I am.

So I was in the mood for an exercise, and so Cel sent me the fragment and I decided to improvise quickly around it...

Sappho fragment 94

: I just really want to die.
She, crying many tears, left me
And said to me:
"Oh, how terribly we have suffered, we two,
Sappho, really I don't want to go away."
And I said to her this:
Go and be happy, remembering me,
For you know how we cared for you.
And if you don't I want to remind you
.............and the lovely things we felt
with many wreathes of violets
and ro(ses and cro)cuses
and.............. and you sat next to me
and threw around your delicate neck
garlands fashioned of many woven flowers
and with much...............costly myrrh
..............and you anointed yourself with royal.....
and on soft couches.......(your) tender.......
fulfilled your longing..........

My somewhat more cynical version

I hate it
hate it
as if I want to die a moment
when they cry.
She cried,
a lot,
And it was all,
We’re such bad news together,
it just hurts,
She really didn’t want to leave.
She said.
So I was all
Leave and be better off
Remember all the good times that we had
The love we shared,
Us and some other girl
Down at the flower market that time
Just as it shut
When we came back
With bunches of violets
That faded
Pots of crocuses
Too dry to live
Roses too red
Against her frock,
But lasted.
Their smell
Clashed with her perfume
Some expensive stuff.
I’ll miss her money
And that posh chaise longue
Where we made love
Still, good things always end
And sometimes
You get to make them think they left.
Tags: poetry translation sappho
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