Suspend, Singer Swan
Suspend, singer swan, the sweet strain:
see how the lord that Delphi sees
exchanges for you the gentle lyre for pipe
and to Admetus makes a pastoral sound.
As gentle song, though strong, moved
stones and tamed the wrath of hell,
so it retreats, abashed, when you are heard:
your instrument blames the church itself.
For though the works of ancient builders
cannot match its columns,
nothing’s greater than your song
when your clear voice strikes its stones,
and your sweet tones surpass it,
dwarf it, while making it grow the more.
Copyright © 2004 by Michael Smith. Reprinted by permission of the translator and Shearsman Books Ltd.