Today's poem is translated by Leonard Kress

Jan Kochanowski: Threnody 14

If only the gate where Orpheus descended
To the underworld were left unattended
Like him I'd bring my beloved back.

If I could only find that path, ford
That river, calm the ferryman's wrath.
Rushed along with other pale shades

To my Urszula, lost in the Cypress glades.
And if, when I'd go, I'd bring my lute
And knock at the chamber of the dread Pluto

Perhaps its plaintive suit
Might persuade him to release her,
Too soon a ghost, to halt once and for all

This uncontested grief. I know that won't
Relinquish her for good, perhaps a distaste
For unripe fruit might let him allow it ripen.

Or better yet, perhaps I could remain
In this underground nation, losing my soul
As well as this preoccupation.

Copyright © 2003 Leonard Kress All rights reserved
from Sappho's Apples
HarrowGate Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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