Lockdown Diaries: Day 13 (On Homer’s Beaches)

Locked Down in London, Day 13: The Year of the Genius Generation

Since the government cancelled all exams this summer (A-levels and GCSEs both), the young and a bright are set to get predicted grades instead.

Wow! This will be the only year ever in which no student fails his exam; the only year when all departments in all schools meet their targets; the year when academic achievement across the country soars to unimagined heights… the year of the Genius Generation!

There’s only one small problem: How will the universities and sixth form centres accommodate all this talent?


Virtual Escape: On Homer’s Beaches

Today we’re escaping to Greece, with a Nobel-prize winning poet. But no picture – this is for seeing in your mind’s eye!

     I was given the Greek language;
a poor house on Homer’s beaches.
     My only care my language on Homer’s beaches.
Seabream there and perch
     windbeaten verbs
green sea-currents amid the azure currents
     which I felt light up in my viscera
sponges, medusae
     with the first words of the Sirens
pink shells with their first black shivers.
   My only care my language with the first black shivers.
Pomegranates there, quinces
     swarthy gods, uncles and cousins
pouring oil in huge jars;
     and breaths from the ravines smelling
of chaste-tree and lentisk
     broom and ginger root
with the first cheeps of the finches,
     sweet psalmodies with the very first Glory to Thee.
My only care my language with the very first Glory to Thee!
     Laurel there and palm fronds
censer and censings
     blessing the sabres and flintlocks.
On the ground spread with vineleaves
     odours of grilled meat, eggs cracking
and Christ is Risen
     with the first gunshots of the Greeks.
Secret loves with the first words of the Hymn¹.
     My only care my language, with the first words of the Hymn!

(Odysseas Elytis: Psalm II, aka The Poet and His Language)
(Translated by Jeffrey Carson and  Nikos Sarris)

Notes:
¹ Hymn: the Greek national anthem.
Keep safe, keep sane – keep reading poetry! 🙂

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