New Lines On Aging

Lines from a new Sappho poem – 2004 Cologne – 2005 Britain –

Martin West’s translation appearing in the Times Literary Supplement

[but my once tender] body old age now
[has seized;] my hair’s turned [white] instead of dark;

Lachlan MacKinnon’s version acknowledging West’s rendering and appearing under the title “Sappho to Her Pupils” in Small Hours …

Old age freezes my body, once so lithe,
rinses the darkness from my hair, now white.

I like the particularity of the verb “rinse”. It gives a sense of time passing and washing away. Startling also is the agency of old age.

And so for day 1131

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