Posts tagged ‘willis barnstone’

Monday, 5 March 2018

Keep Going, Monster by Hipponax

Keep going, monster, all the long way to Smyrna.
Pass through Lydia and past the tomb of Attales,
the grave of King of Gyges and the stele of Megastrys,
the funereal monument of Atys, and king of Attalyda,
and turn your belly toward the sinking sun.

Note by Translator: Attales: brother of Alyattes, King of Persia, whose tomb still exists. Megastrys: lover of Gyges. Atys: mythical lover of Kybeles. Attalyda: founder of the city of the same name. Text is corrupt and with many variations and interpretations.

From: Barnstone, Willis, Ancient Greek Lyrics, 2010, Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianapolis, p. 104.

Date: 6th century BCE (original in Greek); 1962 (translation in English)

By: Hipponax (6th century BCE)

Translated by: Willis Barnstone (1927- )

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Hymn to Adonis by Praxilla

[The Shades of the Underworld ask Adonis, “What was the most beautiful thing you left behind?” He answers:]

Most beautiful of things I leave is sunlight.
Then come glazing stars and the moon’s face.
Then ripe cucumbers and apples and pears.

From: Barnstone, Aliki and Barnstone, Willis (eds.), A Book of Women Poets from Antiquity to Now, 1980, Schocken Books: New York, p. 43.

Date: 5th century BCE (original); 1980 (translation)

By: Praxilla (5th century BCE)

Translated by: Willis Barnstone (1927- )

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Love Has Seven Names by Hadewijch

Love has seven names.
Do you know what they are?
Rope, Light, Fire, Coal
make up its domain.

The others, also good,
more modest but alive:
Dew, Hell, the Living Water.
I name them here (for they
are in the Scriptures),
explaining every sign
for virtue and form.
I tell the truth in signs.
Love appears every day
for one who offers love.
That wisdom is enough.

Love is a ROPE, for it ties
and holds us in its yoke.
It can do all, nothing snaps it.
You who love must know.

The meaning of LIGHT
is known to those who
offer gifts of love,
approved or condemned.

The Scripture tell us
the symbol of COAL:
the one sublime gift
God gives the intimate soul.

Under the name of FIRE, luck,
bad luck, joy or no joy,
consumes. We are seized
by the same heat from both.

When everything is burnt
in its own violence, the DEW,
coming like a breeze, pauses
and brings the good.

LIVING WATER (its sixth name)
flows and ebbs
as my love grows
and disappears from sight.

HELL (I feel its torture)
damns, covering the world.
Nothing escapes. No one has grace
to see a way out.

Take care, you who wish
to deal with names
for love. Behind their sweetness
and wrath, nothing endures.
Nothing but wounds and kisses.

Though love appears far off,
you will move into its depth.


Date: 13th century (original); 2002 (translation)

By: Hadewijch (13th century)

Translated by: Willis Barnstone (1927- ) and Elene Kolb (19??- )

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Siesta by Antonio Machado

In Memory of Abel Martin

While the fish of fire circles up and down,
next to the cypress below the supreme indigo,
and Eros, the blind child, floats in white stone,
and ivory song of green cicadas echoes,
resounds and throbs in branches of the elm,
let us honor the Lord—
the black imprint of his kindly hand,
who ordered silence into clamoring discord.

To God of distances and of absence,
our anchor in the sea, the open sea…
He frees us from the world—omnipresence—
and finds a way for us to stroll easily.

With shadow filling and overfilling our glass,
and his heart never full, let us praise
and honor the Lord who made the Nothingness,
and carved out reason into Faith.


Date: 2003 (translated)

By: Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

Translated by: Willis Barnstone (1927- )

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Light by Willis Barnstone

Light is my end. Born when a few cells fuse
in a big bang of love, from nothing I
become a mass living in time, and lose
my black aloneness for the unseen eye
of mind catching you. We two think and burn.
Back in 1905 Albert Einstein,
a clerk in the Patent Office in Bern,
found we electromagnetically shine,
which means that I am charged with being me,
discharging like the sun. And when my mass
and time slow down to zero gravity,
dismembering me to be infinite night,
Albert’s mc² tells me though my ass
will disappear, I shall turn into light.


Date: 2006

By: Willis Barnstone (1927- )