terça-feira, 16 de outubro de 2012

Autumn Journal

IX
(…)
October comes with rain whipping around the ankles
     In waves of white at night
And filling the raw clay trenches (the parks of London
     Are a nasty sight).
In a week I return to work, lecturing, coaching,
     As impresario of the Ancient Greeks
Who wore the chiton and lived on fish and olives
     And talked philosophy or smut in cliques;
Who believed in youth and did not gloze the unpleasant
     Consequences of age;
What is life, one said, or what is pleasant
     Once you have turned the page
Of love? The days grow worse, the dice are loaded
     Against the living man who pays in tears for breath;
Never to be born was the best, call no man happy
     This side death.
Conscious — long before Engels — of necessity
     And therein free
They plotted out their life with truism and humour
     Between the jealous heaven and the callous sea.
And Pindar sang the garland of wild olive
     And Alcibiades lived from hand to mouth
Double-crossing Athens, Persia, Sparta,
     And many died in the city of plague, and many of drouth
In Sicilian quarries, and many by the spear and arrow
     And many more who told their lies too late
Caught in the eternal factions and reactions
     Of the city-state.
And free speech shivered on the pikes of Macedonia
     And later on the swords of Rome
And Athens became a mere university city
     And the goddess born of the foam
Became the kept hetæra, heroine of Menander,
     And the philosopher narrowed his focus, confined
His efforts to putting his own soul in order
     And keeping a quiet mind.
And for a thousand years they went on talking,
     Making such apt remarks,
A race no longer of heroes but of professors
     And crooked business men and secretaries and clerks,
Who turned out dapper little elegiac verses
     On the ironies of fate, the transience of all
Affections, carefully shunning an over-statement
     But working the dying fall.
The Glory that was Greece: put it in a syllabus, grade it
     Page by page
To train the mind or even to point a moral
     For the present age:
Models of logic and lucidity, dignity, sanity,
     The golden mean between opposing ills
Though there were exceptions of course but  only exceptions
     The bloody Bacchanals on the Thracian hills.
So the humanist in his room with Jacobean panels
     Chewing his pipe and looking on a lazy quad
Chops the Ancient World to turn a sermon
     To the greater glory of God.
But I can do nothing so useful or so simple;
     These dead are dead
And when I should remember the paragons of Hellas
     I think instead
Of the crooks, the adventurers, the opportunists,
     The careless athletes and the fancy boys,
The hair-splitters, the pedants, the hard-boiled sceptics
     And the Agora and the noise
Of the demagogues and the quacks; and the women pouring
     Libations over graves
And the trimmers at Delphi and the dummies at Sparta and lastly
     I think of the slaves.
And how one can imagine oneself among them
     I do not know;
It was all so unimaginably different
     And all so long ago.
Louis MacNeice,  in Collected Poems, Faber & Faber, 2007.

2 comentários:

  1. Este é mesmo muito bom. Devia ser dado a ler a todos os alunos do 1º ano de Clássicas.

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