The “Ode to Man” from Sophocles’ Antigone | Anne Carson (2010)


Many terribly quiet customers exist but none more

terribly quiet than Man:

his footsteps pass so perilously soft across the sea

in marble winter,

up the stiff blue waves and every Tuesday

down he grinds the unastonishable earth

with horse and shatter.


Shatters too the cheeks of birds and traps them in his forest headlights,

salty silvers roll into his net, he weaves it just for that,

this terribly quiet customer.

He dooms

animals and mountains technically,

by yoke he makes the bull bend, the horse to its knees.


And utterance and thought as clear as complicated air and

moods that make a city moral, these he taught himself.

The snowy cold he knows to flee

and every human exigency crackles as he plugs it in:

every outlet works but


Death stays dark.


Death he cannot doom.

Fabrications notwithstanding.





honest oath taking notwithstanding.


Hilarious in his high city

you see him cantering just as he please,

the lava up to here.

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