Wednesday, November 16, 2005

You, children, be zealous for the
beautiful gifts of the
violetlapped Muses
and for the clear songloving lyre.

But my skin once soft is now
taken by old age,
my hair turns white from black.

And my heart is weighed down
and my knees do not lift,
that once were light to dance as

I groan for this. But what can I
A human being without old age is
Not a possibility.

There is the story of Tithonos,
loved by Dawn with her arms
of roses
and she carried him off to the
ends of the earth

when he was beautiful and young.
Even so was he gripped
by white old age. He still has his
deathless wife.

Sappho, Fragment 58, translated by Anne Carson (NYRB, October 20, 2005)

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