An Ancient in First-Year Greek
Well, yes, it’s odd.
Past sixty-five, and grayer than a Sistine-ceiling God,
mildly I face the board, among
these shining-faced and slightly nervous young,
bumbling along with them, in kindergarten lisp and stammer
through bafflements of grammar
and strange opacities of alphabet.
Already I think their shoulders slump a bit beneath their debt,
but in this room, we equally ignore
the susurration of the rising sea, the roar
of Syrian bombers, the drowned children on the beaches,
the looming dark-age misery that teaches
despair and skull-numbed fear.
But here, here
we are, poor dreamers laboring at the lore
of tongues that have seen the world collapse before
and that will know, when all comes crashing down and dire becomes most dire,
old stories, good to chant around a fire.
Maryann Corbett's "An Ancient in First Year Greek" can be read in the print edition of The Arkansas International 2.
Maryann Corbett‘s third book, Mid Evil, won the 2014 Richard Wilbur Award from the University of Evansville Press. She is a past winner of the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and a past finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award and the Able Muse Book Prize. Her fourth book, Street View, will be published by Able Muse Press in 2017.