Thursday, December 16

Fragment 31

fragment of Sappho's poetry

phainetai moi kênos îsos theoisin
emmen’ ônêr ottis enantios toi
isdanei kai plâsion âdu phonei-
sâs upakouei

He seems to me equal to gods that man
whoever he is who opposite you
sits and listens close
to your sweet speaking

kai gelaisâs îmeroen to m’ êmân
kardiân en stêthesin eptoaisen
ôs gar es s’ idô brokhe’ os me phônai-
s’ oud’ en et’ eikei

and lovely laughing - oh it
puts the heart in my chest on wings
for when I look at you, even a moment, no speaking
is left in me

alla kam men glôssa eâge lepton
d’ autika khrôi pur upadedromâken
oppatessi d’ oud’en orêmm’ epirom-
beisi d’ akouai

no: tongue breaks and thin
fire is racing under skin
and in eyes no sight and drumming
fills ears

kad de m’ idrôs kakkheetai tromos de
paisan agrei khlôrotera de poiâs
emmi tethnakên d’ oligô ‘pideuês
phainom’ em’ autai.

and cold sweat holds me and shaking
grips me all, greener than grass
I am and dead - or almost
I seem to me.

Alla pan tomaton . . .

But all is to be dared, because even a person of poverty

-- Sappho
Translated by Anne Carson

The image of the fragment is from this PDF document, where this poem can be found in the original Greek.