Translations of Sappho by Michael R. Burch

Sappho, fragment 58

Pain
drains
me
to
the
last
drop
.

–translation by Michael R. Burch

 

Sappho, fragment 155

A short revealing frock?
It’s just my luck
your lips were made to mock!

(Pollux wrote: “Sappho used the word beudos [Βεῦδοσ] for a woman’s dress, a kimbericon, a kind of short transparent frock.”)

–loose translation by Michael R. Burch

 

Sappho, fragment 156

She keeps her scents
in a dressing-case.
And her sense?
In some undiscoverable place.

(Phrynichus wrote: “Sappho calls a woman’s dressing-case, where she keeps her scents and such things, grutê [γρύτη].”)

–loose translation by Michael R. Burch

 

Sappho, fragment 47

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains,
uprooting oaks.

–loose translation by Michael R. Burch

 

Sappho, fragment 50

Eros, the limb-shatterer,
rattles me,
an irresistible
constrictor.

–loose translation by Michael R. Burch

 

Sappho, fragment 22

That enticing girl’s clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.

–loose translation by Michael R. Burch

 

 

Michael R. Burch, founder of The HyperTexts, lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Beth, their son Jeremy, and three outrageously spoiled puppies. His poems, epigrams, translations, essays, articles, reviews, short stories, puns, jokes and letters have appeared more than 5,000 times in publications which include TIME, USA Today, The Hindu, BBC Radio 3, CNN.com, Daily Kos, The Washington Post, Light Quarterly, The Lyric, Measure, Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing, The Best of the Eclectic Muse, Unlikely Stories and hundreds of other literary journals, websites and blogs. He has two published books, Violets for Beth (White Violet Press, 2012) and O, Terrible Angel (Ancient Cypress Press, 2013).

Athenian Epitaphs by Michael R. Burch

Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.

—Michael R. Burch, after Plato (?)

 

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gulls
in their high, lonely circuits may tell.

—Michael R. Burch, after Glaucus

 

Passerby,
tell the Spartans we lie
here, dead at their word,
obedient to their command.
Have they heard?
Do they understand?

—Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

 

He lies in state tonight: great is his Monument!
Yet Ares cares not, neither does War relent.

—Michael R. Burch, after Anacreon

 

 

These are taken from epitaphs placed on gravestones and monuments by the ancient Greeks in remembrance of their dead. The first two selections were previously published by Brief Poems.

 

 

Michael R. Burch, founder of The HyperTexts, lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Beth, their son Jeremy, and three outrageously spoiled puppies. His poems, epigrams, translations, essays, articles, reviews, short stories, puns, jokes and letters have appeared more than 5,000 times in publications which include TIME, USA Today, The Hindu, BBC Radio 3, CNN.com, Daily Kos, The Washington Post, Light Quarterly, The Lyric, Measure, Writer’s Digest—The Year’s Best Writing, The Best of the Eclectic Muse, Unlikely Stories and hundreds of other literary journals, websites and blogs. He has two published books, Violets for Beth (White Violet Press, 2012) and O, Terrible Angel (Ancient Cypress Press, 2013).