Edmund Keeley reads

The man from Chios called Homer said a beautiful thing

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A poem by Semonides of Amorgos
trans. by Edmund Keeley

The man from Chios called Homer said a beautiful thing:
              “The generations of men are like the leaves of a tree.”
Few mortals who’ve heard this take it to heart:
              all men carry the hope rooted in their youth.
While mortals are still living in youth’s lovely flowering,
              light-headed, their hearts cling to many vain things:
they won’t grow old, they’ll never die,
              and being healthy, why give sickness a moment’s thought?
Fools to think that way, they don’t yet know
              how quickly time moves for mortals, how short the young days.
But since you know this now that your end is near,
              treat yourself entirely to what good things there are.