Sunday, July 13, 2014

Eros and the Bee

The Infinite Moment: Poems from Ancient GreekThe Infinite Moment: 
Poems from Ancient Greek 
translated by Sam Hamill

 Eros, playing among the roses,
didn't see the bee.
Stung, he howled,
he screamed to Aphrodite,

"I'm dying!  Mother!  I'm dying!
I was bitten by 
a snake with wings!"
And she kissed him and replied,

"It will pass.  It was only a bee,
my darling, but think
how long the suffering 
of all those who feel your sting."

The above poem by Anakreon, one of my favorites, is one included in this exceptionally beautiful collection of poems from Ancient Greece. The translator, Sam Hamill, has included poems from Sapphon, Alcaeus, Anakreon, and Paulus Silentiarius. In addition there is a selection of lyrical and love poems from several different sources ranging from Bacchykides and Likymnios to Meleager, Rufinus, and Marcus Argentarius. While the collection is small the poems invite the reader to delight in them again and again.

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Brian Joseph said...

That is a nice and oddly insightful poem.

I always worry that poetry in translation has lost its original essence. Of course this cannot be helped.

JohnJEnright said...

I've read that one before, great poem, but what a lovely translation!

James said...

I think Hamill comes as close as possible to the original, but there must be something lost even so.

James said...

This translator is intrepid and insightful with these ancient Greek poems.