Pour perfume over my head
which has suffered a great deal,
and over my grey-haired chest.
As for my guests, let them drink
the evils of the day away,
and revel in all the gods have given.
And with other men, I toast Dionysus,
but the man who does not raise his cup,
you say has lost his reason.
Poem: Pour Perfume Over My Head
Translation © R J Dent (2009)
This translation first appeared in Acumen 56 (2006)
Cover painting: A detail from Sappho & Alcaeus (1881) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema
Poems & Fragments
Translated by R J Dent