22 January 2009

Sherod Santos

[from Sherod Santos's Greek Lyric Poetry, Norton, 2005]

Spirits of the Afterworld

     On them alone raw sunlight shines
beyond the darkness that forms our element here.
     The arable plains around them
are tufted with spreading incense trees, or brailled

     with tussocky, water-colored
pools of wildflowers coming into bloom.
     And as we hear, some of them ride
on horseback through the defile of a snow-

     fed falls, others wrestle or test
themselves in footraces down a gravel bar,
     still others gather over table games
or work out verses practiced on a lyre.

     And all day long a storied
gladness fills to overbrim their hearts,
     and a fragrance spooled
from ribboned braids of frankincense

     consecrates their altar fires.
Still, on the far shore of that great divide,
     a black and sluggish river
disgorges an endless, melancholy silt.


Greek Lyric Poetry: A New Translation

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