Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Sappho Fragment (31)

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

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

From Sappho Fragment 31

Anne Carson’s If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho

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6 thoughts on “Sappho Fragment (31)

  1. Wow! What an amazing translation! Who is Anne Carson?


  2. Inese Poga Art Gallery on said:

    We had to study and analyse poems like this at the University. However, I was studying Latin which was a compulsory subject for everybody in the Foreign Language faculty. We had a fantastic lecturer, so yes, we had to translate this stuff, it was sometimes abnormally difficult, and the translation you’ve put there is just awesome. I loved mostly Rainer Maria Rilke poems those times and was translating these. Your post really moved my memories, it was so long ago and on the other side of this planet! Happy New Year!


    • Always good to have fond memories.

      There’s something special about translating poetry. The translator has to be gifted – I think of Anne Larson with the Sappho and Stephen Mitchell’s with The Iliad. I’d really like to read his version of The Book of Job (and I just see he’s done Rilke as well).

      I’ve done a little translating myself, and when I have, it’s been an absolutely pleasurable experience, it really does feel like an act of creation.

      Happy New Year!


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