For the Classics in Translation I read Anne Carson’s If Not Winter a Translation of Sappho’s Poems and I highly recommend it. The Greek is On the left page, in startling red ink while Carson’s translation is on the right page in a calmer black ink. Brackets note the missing lines. It is a beautiful way to read these fragmented poems; the blank spaces fill you with wonder- what was the complete poem like? There was such intensity in the fragments!
the earth with her crowns
Her poems have a sense of pagan piety and duty and yet others were soft, lyrical, feminine with striking imagery:
“Evening you gather back
all that dazzling dawn has put asunder:
you gather a lamb, gather a kid,
gather a child to its mother.”
To read The Classics is to cross the chasm of time and even language, to experience the permanence of the written word; even an ancient author like Sappho feels close to us when we read. Thousands of years, the Enlightenment, the industrial revolution cannot change the human condition: love, hatred, pain, joy, suffering will always be a part of our lives.
Someone will remember us
even in another time.
-Mrs Karl T. Cooper, Jr.