Poetry at Sangam



PROLOGUE by Aurélia Lassaque

Translated by Madeleine Campbell



All that follows is from worldly memory

the poets reinvented everything

they needed a man
to surpass the gods
and, like any man
far from his home
so oft in tears
to curse the wine-dark sea
and lacerate his face

when the poet died
another ten took his place and rewrote the story

and thus man created the myth
i nailed hope to the four walls of my cell

there’s no territory more vast than memory
i hollowed out its mountains, drained its rivers
turned over the stones of every rampart
waiting for my errant lover to return

the man who rallies your voices
endures your deliriums
and wears every mask
the man you call Ulysses