Friday, June 8, 2012

Three Interpretations of Archilochus



This swaggering puffer
with dandified whiskers
and curly hair, I hate this
haughty lanky general here.

With me, the good officer
is short, bandy-legged
maybe, his feet put wide,
and gut immovable.

//

Of all the luck, my wayward 
shield gone to an Agnos thicket, 
and likely a happy prize for a
Saian bumpkin, but now,
there's no returning, the
thread is clipped.

He'll have a shield
and I, my skin.
That's no dishonor.
Our people fashion
superior equipment.

//

Euboians fight face
to face. The fierce,
dull sound of metal 
piercing flesh, of sword 
and spear, is the fuel 
for Ares' delirium.

With the Euboians, it's 
no casual, distant engagement,
no tuning of our bows
to sing as lyre strings.
With them, it's vicious labor,
and uncertain outcome.