Monday, September 24, 2007

“Siesta time in sultry summer”
Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso)
43 BCE – 17 CE Roman
translated by Guy Lee

Siesta time in sultry summer.
I lay relaxed on the divan.

One shutter closed, the other ajar,
made sylvan semi-darkness,

a glimmering dusk, as after sunset,
or between night’s end and day’s beginning—

the half light shy girls
need to hide their hesitation.

At last—Corinna. On the loose in a short dress,
long hair parted and tumbling past the pale neck—

lovely as Lais of the many lovers,
Queen Semiramis gliding in.

I grabbed the dress; it didn’t hide much,
but she fought to keep it,

only half-heartedly though.
Victory was easy, a self-betrayal.

There she stood, faultless beauty
in front of me, naked.

Shoulders and arms challenging eyes and fingers.
Nipples firmly demanding attention.

Breasts in high relief above the smooth belly.
Long and slender waist. Thighs of a girl.

Why list perfection?
I hugged her tight.

The rest can be imagined—we fell asleep.
Such afternoons are rare.

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