Lament

Translated from the Greek by Joshua Barley

I dreamed of it myself – I dreamed I was to die, 

I saw red – I was wearing red – and green and cerulean blue.

The green meant evil, the red meant news,

and deep cerulean blue was Charos who would take me.

 

Yesterday, the day before, I passed by Charos’ hideouts,

I heard drums pounding there and I heard volleys falling:

are they falling at some wedding, or at some festival? 

They’re not falling at some wedding, nor some festival,

but there’s a widow having a feast, she’s marrying off her son,

she’s killing thirty two buffaloes, now thirty five of them.

 

The widow is already in Hades; she is preparing for her son’s arrival and his mythical ‘wedding’ in the underworld. The lament was recorded in the mountain village of Skoteini, in the region of Argos. 

 

This lament is published in Τα Μοιρολόγια (ed. G. Saunier), Nefeli Publications 1999.

Image: 

Wooden Funerary Barge

Freud Museum London, 3852

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