I have studied the science of parting
In the bareheaded laments of night.
Oxen chew, the waiting drags on
As the vigil stretches the nightís last
I honored the ritual of the crowing night
When I took up the travelerís heavy
I saw in a womanís distant eyes
Tears mingling with the musesí song.
Who can tell from the word parting
What kind of separation lies before us,
What awaits us in the roosterís call
When a fire burns in the acropolis?
And at the dawn of a new life,
While the oxen chew lazily in the barn,
Why the rooster, herald of the new day,
Beats its wings on the city wall?
I love the routine of spinning wool,
The shuttleís glide, the spindleís
Look, drifting towards us like swanís
Barefoot Delia comes flying!
How poor the foundation of our lives,
How plain the language of joy!
Everything has come before and will again,
But only the moment of recognition is
So be it: a transparent shape
Lies on a clean, earthen dish
like the stretched hide of a squirrel.
A girl, bending over the wax, reads it.
It is not ours to tell the future of Greek
Wax is for women as bronze is for men.
Our lot is to fall in battle,
Theirís to die by prophecy.