The First Step
Translated by: Paschalis Nikolaou and Richard Berengarten
Artwork by Šarūnas Burdulis
There are many young poets
like yourself, Eumenes. They approach
asking to be told exactly
when the miracle will occur.
They seek guidance, reassurances,
and somehow they manage to extract
a few words of praise –
and so the likes
of Theocritus have grown skeptical.
Eumenes, if writing is for you
the need that simply won’t be denied,
do not pay attention
to such consolations –
because there is no City of Ideas
nor are there Legislators to bestow titles.
Νobody is there to guarantee you anything.
There is only you, dedicated to this task,
for you know well enough
though it may be no small thing
this first step, Eumenes,
isn’t really so high.
Richard Berengarten is a poet who lives in Cambridge. His Selected Writings are published by Shearsman Books, so far in six volumes. See: http://www.shearsman.com/browse-poetry-books-by-author-Richard-Berengarten. His latest book is Manual. See also the Volta Project for versions of one of his poems in 93 languages: http://interlitq.org/issue9/volta/job.php.