“Elderly Greek Scribe at a Temple of the Muses”

A Poem by Reginald Gibbons

May 28, 2020  By Reginald Gibbons

~after Philippos of Thessaloniki

Do you see him?—

he’s leaving his little heavy discus of lead

for marking the margins and the columns.

And his knife—for trimming and notching his reed pens.

And his longest ruler.

And his dry, ink-stained, fine-pored pumice stone

from the beach—for absorbing

mistaken ink, and for gently

rubbing away a wrong mark.

He puts them all there, together.


Not silver, not gold—but his grateful

donation today in honor of the Muses.


Everyday things—worth nothing.


Yes, of course. But old age has clouded his eyes.

He can’t work any more.


Renditions, a book of poetry by Reginald Gibbons, will be available from Four Way Books in 2021. 

Reginald Gibbons
Reginald Gibbons will publish a new book of poems, Renditions, in early 2021 (Four Way Books). With Ilya Kutik, he has completed translating new volumes of selected poems by Boris Pasternak and Marina Tsvetaeva that will soon be submitted to publishers. He teaches creative writing and translation at Northwestern, where he is the director of the Litowitz Creative Writing Graduate Program. He's at work on a second novel.

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