Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the category “Stanley Lombardo”

Book 24

“But he found his father, alone, on a well-banked plot,
Spading a plant. He had on an old, dirty shirt,
Mended and patched, and leather leggings
Pieced together as protection from scratches.
He wore gloves because of the bushes, and on his head
He had a goatskin cap, crowning his sorrow.
Odysseus, who had borne much, saw him like this,
Worn with age and a grieving heart,
And wept as he watched from a pear tree’s shade.”
24.233-241

Book 23

“And death shall come to me from the sea,
As gentle as this touch, and take me off
When I am worn out in sleek old age,
With my people prosperous around me.
23.287-291

Book 22

“But everyone he saw lay in the blood and dust,
The whole lot of them, like fish that fishermen
Have drawn up in nets from the grey sea
Onto the curved shore. They lie all in heaps
On the sand beach, longing for the salt waves,
And the blazing sun drains their life away.
So too the suitors, lying in heaps.”
22.408-414

Book 21

“Odysseus strung the great bow. Lifting it up,
He plucked the string, and it sang beautifully
Under his touch, with a note like a swallow’s.”
21.435-437

Book 20

‘”You are shrouded in night from top to toe,
Lamentation flares, your cheeks melt with tears,
And the walls of the house are spattered with blood.
The porch and the court are crowded with ghosts
Streaming down to the undergloom. The sun is gone
From heaven, and an evil mist spreads over the land.”
20.387-392

Book 19

“Snow deposited high in the mountains by the wild West Wind
Slowly melts under the East Wind’s breath,
And as it melts the rivers rise in their channels.
So her lovely cheeks coursed with tears as she wept
For her husband, who was sitting before her.”
19.221-225

Book 18

“’Out of the doorway, geezer, before I throw you out
On your ear! Don’t you see all these people
Winking at me to give you the bum’s rush?
I wouldn’t want to stoop so low, but if you don’t
Get out now, I may have to lay hands on you.’”
18.11-15

Book 17

“There lay the hound Argus, infested with lice.
And now, when he sensed Odysseus was near,
He wagged his tail and dropped both ears
But could not drag himself nearer his master.
17.227-330

Book 16

“They fell to feasting. There was plenty for everyone,
And when they all had enough of food and drink,
Their minds turned toward rest, and they took the gift of sleep.
16.515-517

Book 15

“Telemachus and his crew were now near to shore
And furling the sails in the early light.
They struck the mast quickly and rowed the ship
Up to her mooring. They threw out the anchor-stones,
Made the stern cables fast, and then disembarked
Onto the beach, where they prepared their meal
And mixed the glinting wine.”
15.540-546

Book 14

“The sea grew dark beneath it, and Zeus thundered
And struck the ship with a lightning bolt.
She shivered from stem to stern and was filled
With sulfurous smoke. The men went overboard,
Bobbing in the waves like sea crows
Around the black ship, their day of return
Snuffed out by the god.”
14.329-335

Book 13

“At the harbor’s head a slender-leaved olive
Stands near a cave glimmering through the mist
And sacred to the nymphs called Naiades.
Inside are bowls and jars of stone
Where bees store honey, and long stone looms
Where the nymphs weave shrouds as dark as the sea.”
13.105-110

Book 12

“‘On the other route there are two rocks.
One stabs its peak into the sky
And is ringed by a dark blue cloud. This cloud
Never melts, and the air is never clear
During summer or autumn. No mortal man
Could ever scale this rock, not even if he had
Twenty hands and feet. The stone is as smooth
As if it were polished. Halfway up the cliff
Is a misty cave facing the western gloom.'”
13.75-83

Book 11

“Then out of Erebus
The souls of the dead gathered, the ghosts
Of brides and youths and worn-out old men
And soft young girls with hearts new to sorrow,
And many men wounded with bronze spears,
Killed in battle, bearing blood-stained arms.
They drifted up to the pit from all sides
With an eerie cry, and pale fear seized me.”
11.34-41

Book 10

“The winds rushed out
And bore them far out to sea, weeping
As their native land faded on the horizon.”
10.53-55

Book 9

“There we sailed in,
Some god guiding us through the murky night.
We couldn’t see a thing. A thick fog
Enveloped the ships, and the moon
Wasn’t shining in the cloud-covered sky.
None of us could see the island, or the long waves
Rolling toward the shore, until we ran our ships
Onto the sandy beach. Then we lowered sail,
Disembarked, and fell asleep on the sand.”
9.137-145

Book 8

“A stranger and suppliant is as dear as a brother
To anyone with even an ounce of good sense.”
8.591-592

Book 7

“Outside the courtyard,
Just beyond the doors, are four acres of orchard
Surrounded by a hedge. The trees there grow tall,
Blossoming pear trees and pomegranates,
Apple trees with bright, shiny fruit, sweet figs
And luxuriant olives.”
7.119-124

Book 6

“The grey-eyed goddess spoke and was gone,
Off to Olympus, which they say is forever
The unmoving abode of the gods, unshaken
By winds, never soaked by rain, and where the snow
Never drifts, but the brilliant sky stretches
Cloudless away, and brightness streams through the air.”
6.41-46

Book 5

“Tendrils of ivy curled around the cave’s mouth,
The glossy green vine clustered with berries.
Four separate springs flowed with clear water, criss-
Crossing channels as they meandered through meadows
Lush with parsley and blossoming violets.”
5.72-76

Book 4

“When the sun is at high noon, the unerring
Old Man of the Sea comes from the salt water,
Hidden in dark ripples the West Wind stirs up,
And then lies down to sleep in the scalloped caves.
All around him seals, the brine-spirit’s brood,
Sleep in a herd. They come out of the grey water.
With breath as fetid as the depths of the sea.”
4.426-432

Book 3

“The sun rose from the still, beautiful water
Into the bronze sky, to shine upon the gods
And upon men who die on the life-giving earth.”
3.1-3

Book 2

“Hear me, god of yesterday. You came to our house
And commanded me to sail the misty sea
In search of news of my long-absent father.”
2.285-287

Book 1

“Athena spoke, and she bound on her feet
The beautiful sandals, golden, immortal,
That carry her over landscape and seascape
On a puff of wind. And she took the spear,
Bronze-tipped and massive, that the Daughter uses
To level battalions of heroes in her wrath.”
1.103-108

The Odyssey

A very early heads up for those who might want to join others in reading the Stanley Lombardo translation of the Odyssey.  As you might recall, last year we did the same with the Stephen Mitchell translation of The Iliad, which I found to be an incredible read.  The idea is to begin mid-December.

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