Sappho calls the Poetry Crisis Line

COUNSELOR: Poetry Crisis Line, what is your emergency?

CALLER: Say what you like about Charaxos,

COUNSELOR: I’m sorry, ma’am, but at the Poetry Crisis Line we care about confidentiality.

CALLER: that’s a fellow with a fat-bellied ship

COUNSELOR: I’m sorry—do you mean an actual boat, or are you talking about—

CALLER: always in some port or other.

COUNSELOR: I think I get your meaning.

CALLER: What does Zeus care,

COUNSELOR: It’s none of his business.

CALLER: or the rest of his gang?

COUNSELOR: Or theirs. And if it is his business, it’s still none of theirs.

CALLER: Now you’d like me on my knees,

COUNSELOR: And that’s your business. I’m not here to judge.

CALLER: crying out to Hera,

COUNSELOR: Well, I suppose what Zeus gets up to is her business.

CALLER: “Blah, blah, blah,

COUNSELOR: Not that I’d blab. Like I said, we care about privacy.

CALLER: bring him home safe and free of warts,”

COUNSELOR: That may be an exception to medical confidentiality; I’m not sure. It’s not something I’m required to report.

CALLER: or blubbering, “Wah, wah, wah, thank you, / thank you, for curing my liver condition.”

COUNSELOR: Liver warts? I’ve never heard of that.

CALLER: Good grief, gods do what they like.

COUNSELOR: I guess so. Are you sure you don’t mean liverwurst? You know, the sausage?

CALLER: They call down hurricanes with a whisper

COUNSELOR: You mean like the vacuum cleaner? Or the app on your phone?

CALLER: or send off a tsunami the way you would a love letter.

COUNSELOR: Neither rain nor sleet will stop it.

CALLER: If they have a whim, they make some henchmen / fix it up,

COUNSELOR: That sounds like a dirty job.

CALLER: like those idiots in the Iliad.

COUNSELOR: Did they bring a Whisper in the Trojan Horse?

CALLER: A puff of smoke,

COUNSELOR: They brought a bong?

CALLER: a little fog,

COUNSELOR: It just seems like it might blow their cover. Even if it is on little cat feet.

CALLER: away goes the hero,

COUNSELOR: Right. That’s what they were waiting for.

CALLER: it’s happily ever after.

COUNSELOR: For the Greeks it was. For the Trojans, not so much.

CALLER: As for Larichos,

COUNSELOR: Which side was he on?

CALLER: that lay-a-bed lives for the pillow.

COUNSELOR: So…not getting up before sunrise to get stoned in a wooden horse.

CALLER: If for once / he’d get off his ass, he might make something of himself.

COUNSELOR: Has he tried visualization exercises?

CALLER: Then from that reeking sewer of my life

COUNSELOR: Yes, like that. But instead of a reeking sewer, try thinking of your life as a clear, flowing fountain.

CALLER: I might haul up a bucket of spring water.

COUNSELOR: Well, then.



Read the original (in translation) here.