Axenos Pontos by Tomas Venclova

by Tomas Venclova (Lithuanian poet, scholar)
Translated by Jonas Zdanys

That very first sea of misfortune
Is as inhospitable as the spears of the Danaides,
Its salty waters flood to shore
In Sapphic strophes.

That's how he, perhaps, beneath the olive tree
On the distant roads fell asleep forever
Without seeing the Phaeacian boat
And Nausicaa.

We won't believe that he returned,
That in Ithaca's barns he forgot his land,
Where the mountain snows overcome the Pontos
Screaming sand,

Where there is no beginning, present, or kindness,
And in the gods' night, in the weightless abyss,
The Pleiades, like a golden wave, whip themselves
Into foam.


Published with the courtesy of LITUANUS


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