Found Poetry: Sappho in Translation

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Musings on Writing and Life.

Found poetry takes words, phrases, and sometimes even entire passages from other sources and recasts them into what I like to think of as the literary equivalent of a collage. My found poem, “So now this autumn,”(( is made up of lines taken from If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, translated by Anne Carson. I think this particular form works especially well with the poetry of Sappho since her work is only known in its shards and fragments anyway. My poem was published online in 2017 at Sweet Tree Review.((

According to their website, “Sweet Tree Review is a quarterly online literary and arts publication obsessed with ineffable connectivity.” What better way to make connections that to be in dialogue with Sappho, one of the greatest poets of all time? The spacing in the borrowed lines as well as some of the punctuation is based on Carson’s text. In a few spots, I added additional capitalization and punctuation as needed for clarity.

So now this is autumn

Nancy Flynn

of all stars the most
                          beautiful —

open out the grace of your eyes,
                         black sleep of night.

The hour goes by.

Become a voice.
Do not move stones.

Someone will remember us,
                                         I say.
                                         Even in another time,

I might go

so we may see
barefoot —

to loose all the wrong [we] did before
                by luck of the harbor,
to pray for a share
out of the unexpected.

To be,
        to arrive
        to tell tales.

and toward
says this
of black earth—

flesh by now old age.

We live
the opposite,
in a thin voice.

For day is near,
stirs up still things.

For mortals: there is a share
as long as you want
               to touch the sky with two arms.

You will go your way among the dim shapes. Having been breathed out.

Nancy Flynn
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