Ayyappa Paniker

(12 September 1930 - 23 August 2006 / Kavalam, Kerala, India)

Sappho's Dirge


Looking at the Pleiades
Poetess Sappho sheds tears
Do the Pleiades ever know
That a friend here is waiting for them
Magic and marvel fill the green isles
That throb like the rosary of the sea
The spark, the dream, and the sea-speak:
Surging and surfing over the waves of Time
Fighting and fighting, the men are in ruins
Still they are beating the war-drums again
Divorced and distempered the women in huts
Are distressed without enough drinking water
They shout there is no place at home
For those who do not return to work at home
We shall never clear their debts
We stand only for ourselves hereafter

Watching the Pleiades
Sappho sings her tears
To listen to the dirge of long waiting
The Pleiades come down

Submitted: Friday, September 07, 2012
Edited: Friday, September 07, 2012

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