Winter 1999 • Vol. XXI No. 1 TranslationsJanuary 1, 1999 |

“Quid Πλατανὼν Opacissimus?”

From the Greek [Translator's note—The title, with the Greek word Πλατανὼν, is glossed by poet George Seferis in his collected works. It is a quote from a letter of the younger Pliny (Letters 1.3) in which Pliny urges Caninius Rufus, a wealthy landowner much attached to his well-wooded villa, to begin writing seriously.] Sleep bound you in leaves, green like a tree, you suspired like a tree in the tranquil light, in the crystalline spring I gazed on your face; eyelids closed, lashes grazing the water. In the tender grass my fingers found yours, I held your pulse but felt your heart's pain somewhere else. Under the plane tree, near the laurel, by the water, sleep moved and scattered you near me, around me, yet without me able to touch you really, as you were one with your quiet. I watched your shadow rise and fall and lose itself in other shadows, in the other world that let you go yet held you still. The life they let us live we lived. Pity those who wai

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