[?] made three seasons, summer
and winter and autumn third
and fourth spring when
there is blooming but to eat enough
is not.

-- Alkman, trans. Anne Carson.

Alkman, as Anne Carson explains, was a poet who lived in Sparta in the 7th century B.C.  He was likely poor, and constantly hungry.  Spring, consequently, would be a bitter time for him, rudely forcing the fledgling bounty of the earth into stark contast with his bare larder.

This poem does not exist today in its complete form.  Even the subject of the verb "make" is lost.  In Carson's translation we have the question mark as a placeholder for the lost subject.  Her discussion of the Alkman fragment can be found in her essay, "The Idea of a University."



Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.