ANNE CARSON

DETAIL FROM
THE TOMB OF THE DIVER

(PAESTUM 500-453 BC)

First detail

Above, the blue arm ballet sparkling its way from stranger to
stranger on a luck of clouds.
Below

below.

What verb to.
Such as leap into water.
Such as ravish her and want to.

Through with love she sings Naked except for a.

Second detail

“swimming at noon always reminds me of Marilyn Monroe”

Etruscan saying

The Etruscans: Are you blue, Marilyn?
Marilyn:                A little blue.
The Etruscans: What do you do when you’re blue?
Marilyn:                Go underwater.
The Etruscans: Why?
Marilyn:                 Slow world, I like that.
The Etruscans: Slow bodies?
Marilyn:                 Bodies pulled around by faces.
The Etruscans: Diverse faces (sorry!)
Marilyn:                 Actually, all the same face.
The Etruscans: Frightening? Seductive?
Marilyn:                 No, beautiful.
The Etruscans: Odd sort of beauty.
Marilyn:                 Like a new brassiere.
The Etruscans: Or a very usual verb.
Marilyn:                 What?
The Etruscans: For instance the verb ‘is’.
Marilyn:                 I didn’t know ‘is’ was a verb.
The Etruscans: What did you think it was?
Marilyn:                 A light for the other verbs.
The Etruscans: In written Etruscan it’s the only verb we have.
Marilyn:                 You’re kidding.
The Etruscans: Is, was, has been, had been, will be, might be, should be, to be, to have been, to be about to have been, being, being about to be. And of course the negatives of these.
Marilyn:                 How do you get married or go to the beach?
The Etruscans: We do such things, just don’t write about them.
Marilyn:                 No novels, no screenplays?
The Etruscans: No literature.
Marilyn:                 Why bother writing at all then?
The Etruscans: It is needed on tombstones.
Marilyn:                 Oh I see.
The Etruscans: Now there’s a slow world.
Marilyn:                  You got that right.
The Etruscans: Now you’re sad again.
Marilyn:                 No just thinking. My pain self etc.
The Etruscans: Les choses derrière les choses.
Marilyn:                 I guess.
The Etruscans: Getting colder now.
Marilyn:                  Time to go in.
The Etruscans: And tomorrow?
Marilyn:                  Tomorrow will certainly be.
The Etruscans: You are very funny.
Marilyn:                 So I’m told.

Anne Carson teaches ancient Greek for a living and recently published a translation of the fragments of Sappho (Knopf).

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