An old trunk of olive
grew like a pillar on the building plot,
and I laid out our bedroom round that tree,
lined up the stone walls, built the walls and roof,
gave it a doorway and smooth-fitting doors.
Then I lopped off the silvery leaves and branches,
hewed and shaped that stump from the roots up
into a bedpost, drilled it, let it serve
as model for the rest. I planed them all,
inlaid them all with silver, gold and ivory,
and stretched a bed between--a pliant web
of oxhide thongs dyed crimson.
|An excerpt from "The Trunk of the Olive Tree" in The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. Translation copyright © 1961, renewed 1989 by Benedict R.C. Fitzgerald on behalf of the Fitzgerald children. This edition copyright © 1998 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. All rights reserved.|