Of Those Unwilling to Take the Bitter with the Sweet

from Sappho fragment 146, translated by Willis Barnstone

I care for neither honey
nor the honeybee

translated by Mary Barnard

It is clear now:
Neither honey nor
the honey bee is
to be mine again

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One thought on “Of Those Unwilling to Take the Bitter with the Sweet

  1. I suspect that the first translation above is the one closer to the poet’s original intention. This is also worth citing:

    “Neither honey nor bee for me”.

    Even if Barnard took liberties, I like hers better. It expresses a kind of grief that I feel about the spreading colony collapse disorder that threatens bees.

    They use quorum sensing to find a new home. Maybe they’ve found a better home, away from our mistreatment?

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