EXPANSIVE POETRY ONLINE
A Journal of Contemporary Arts 

 

TRANSLATIONS*

by

E.S. FRESE, JR.
____________


EASY LOVE

Let's live together, Kate, and love, love, love!
and let's resolve right now to count our neigh-
bors’ sputterings not worth their nosey breath.

Though suns can set and next day rise again,
our own brief flicker, once it fades, knows on-
ly one long endless night, slept through alone.

Therefore, before that loveless gloom, let's live
together so that any time we wish
we'll kiss, and kiss some more, and kiss again,

and kiss, kiss, kiss to make it ten, and then
a hundred, and a thousand, and again
a hundred thousand, and again times ten,

then like before, still more to mix up the
score, so those jealous spies can’t fly their e-
vil eyes upon our sweet and easy love!

          - from Catullus v - “Vivamus, mea Lesbia”,


Viuamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus,
rumoresque senum seueriorum
omnes unius aestimemus assis.
     soles occidere et redire possunt:

nobis cum semel occidit breuis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda.
da mi basia mille, deinde centum,
     dein mille altera, dein secunda centum,

deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.
dein, cum milia multa fecerimus,
conturbabimus illa, ne sciamus,
      aut ne quis malus inuidere possit,

cum tantum sciat esse basiorum.

_

______________________________________________

 

MY SOUL'S DISEASE

He, to me, seems truly a god among men;
he, if not glib blasphemy, betters one, who
sitting right near by, stays so calm and sane when,
                   time and again, you

sweetly laugh. Me, I'd be distraught: just one quick
glimpse of you wreaks havoc in me: my knees grow
weak, my ears start ringing, all sights but you blur.
                   Then, when you’re near, my

insides leap, strange tinglings afflict my skin, loins
moisten, non-stop swallowings drown my well-worked
speech, I scheme new ways to connect but can’t till,
                   hopeful, confused, un-

done, I just stare, helplessly there. And when you're
gone, I'm still crazed: ease breeds my soul's disease as
thoughts of you seen - hoped to be seen! - obsess me,
                  desperate to love you.

- loosely from Sappho -“Φαίνεταί μοι κήνος”,
  and Catullus li - Ille me par esse deo”,
  approximating the latter’s Lesser Sapphic meter


Sappho, Fragment 2

Φαίνεταί μοι κήνος ἴσος θέοισιν
ἔμμεν ὤνηρ, ὄστις ἐναντίος τοι
ἰζάνει, καὶ πλυσίον ἆδυ φωνεύ-
                  σας ὑπακούει

καὶ γελαίσας ἰμερόεν, τό μοι μάν
καρδίαν ἐν στήθεσιν ἐπτόασεν·
ὡς γὰρ εὔιδον βροχέως σε, φώνας
                  οὺδὲν ἔτ' εἴκει·

ἀλλὰ κὰμ μὲν γλῶσσα ἔαγε, λέπτον
δ'αὔτικα χρῷ πῦρ ὐπαδεδρόμακεν,
ὀππάτεσσι δ' οὐδὲν ὄρημ', ἐπιρρόμ-
                  βεισι δ' ἄκουαι.

ἀ δέ μίδρως κακχέεται, τρόμος δέ
παῖσαν ἄγρει, χλωροτέρα δὲ ποίας
ἔμμι, τεθνάκην δ' ὀλίγω 'πιδεύης
                  φαίνομαι [ἄλλα].

ἀλλὰ πᾶν τόλματον, [ἐπεὶ καὶ πένητα].

 

* from the collection Classical Thoughts In Current Words 

 

 

 

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