The Homeric Hymnists – Hymn to Σελήνη – translated by Fortunato Salazar

Alexei saw it for himself, the newborn

Honey, so he wuz called, Honey

the mother wuz called Honey too

he scrambled back into the womb

.in uterum protinus reversus infans

Saginti .Alexei famously cranky and

wuz called Honey, too .and in both

beds shines the moon and so they draw

lots .and don’t see each other until the

collar, the confrere, Sergeant Householder

.salted meat .whose mind is ever thirsting

for the think you don’t know you still

can flinch, supporting his decaying strength

chewing raisins, wuz in the circle at the

collar .cuius tinctoria est mens .and she

.blutgierig, um den Hals die Perlenkette

diametrically opposite points the finger

.the flower of the white violet opens

suppurations Honey sez to Honey who

blanches .yes and all go back to the thumb.

The “Homeric Hymnists” cannot be identified with any certainty, save that none of them were “Homer” (author of the Iliad and Odyssey, and himself a figure of dubious historicity). They were, however, Homer’s literary descendants, singing and eventually writing about the Greek gods using the same poetic style. While a few of the Hymns seem to have been standalone pieces, most (including the Hymn to Selene) are evidently preludes, intended to bring the gods into the audience for the longer performances that followed. [Bio courtesy of Alexander Hall, Associate Teaching Professor of Classical Studies, Iowa State University.]

Fortunato Salazar lives in Los Angeles; his translation and other writing appear at The Atlantic, Ploughshares, Conjunctions, Guernica, Chicago Review, The Brooklyn Rail/InTranslation, and elsewhere.