22 10 2009

Akhilles & Briseis

How much is a woman equal to? Take Briseis,

given to Akhilles as booty: is she worth four oxen?

Six? Her father’s allied to the Trojans, which might reduce


her value. But the thighs are fleshy, breasts soft, skin

spread like a banquet. When Agamemnon sees her bending

over the laundry, he waits until she rises, arms slick


and wet, with a stain of water on her clothes. Oh! Yes,

he got the short end of the stick with the priest’s daughter

who’ll have to be sent home. He’ll have this girl instead.




Briseis, taken from the hut, looks back at Akhilles sitting

on the sand. She wavers in his vision, like something

turned to air or mist. She could disappear now,


from the tale and the hero’s view. But she continues, braiding

her hair with tears; the king will return her (briefly)

just before Akhilles goes to battle, dies. A woman is equal to



the weight of her grief.

*AUTHOR: Anne Simpson

POSTED BY: Charles Ryder on Le Blogué.

Un poema un poco diferente de los anteiores, aunque al igual que + es algo gráfico, y sumamente descriptivo. ¿A qué es igual una mujer en tiempos de guerra? Y más, una esclava como Briseida, que era codiciada por Agamenón, a pesar de pertenecer al poderosos Aquiles. Su tenencia causó una gran disputa entre estos dos hombres, y en definitiva, tuvo que ver con la guerra de Troya y sus movimientos. Simplemente otro grande de los ya casi terminados, Usual Devices de Anne Simpson.



18 10 2009


Daily Tally



Dead:                53

Wounded:      12

Missing:             4


Total:                 69



 Dead:                64

Wounded:        26

Missing:               2


Total:                 92


Walk among the dead, count the young bodies

piled on the ground. Stinking.


Who has the heart for it? This is one day’s work.

Tomorrow, there’ll be more,


so many that it’s hard to tell one body from

another. Here are parts of what they were:


arms, legs, a dirty foot, someone’s helmet, a spear.


Arrange them carefully, hands at their sides,

military fashion. Burn the Greeks together,


according to the rites, watch the smoke rise

-mingling with that of the Trojan dead-


and drift in the air.


AUTHOR: Anne Simpson

POSTED BY: Charles Ryder on Le Blogué.

*Podríamos decir que de todos los poemas de Usual Devices que he publicado, este es el más interesante. No sólo el título intriga respecto a la trama, sino que incluso es totalmente bizarro y poco usual, la estructura usada en el poema, a su inicio. Los cuerpos de guerra, son la suma de todas las partes encontradas. Ser el buscador de sobrevivientes, es uno de los trabajos más arduos de la guerra, y uno que se hace de mala gana. Además, ¿de qué sirve que sean de diferentes bandos, si al final, siendo quemados en cenizas, éstas se combinan en el cielo, haciendo otra suma?