Helen, the Sad Queen

By Janet Loxley Lewis 1899–1998
Azure, ’tis I, come from Elysian shores
To hear the waves break on sonorous steps,
And see again the sunrise full of ships
Rising from darkness upon golden oars.

My solitary arms call on the kings
Whose salty beards amused my silver hands.
I wept; they sang of triumphs in far lands,
And gulfs fled backward upon watery wings.

I hear the trumpet and the martial horn
That wield the rhythm of the beating blade,
The song of rowers binding the tumult.

And the gods! exalting on the prow with scorn
Their ancient smile that the slow waves insult,
Hold out their sculptured arms to my sad shade.

                               From the French of Paul Valéry

“Helen, the Sad Queen” from Poems Old and New 1918-1978 by Janet Lewis. Published in 1981 by Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, Athens, Ohio (www.ohioswallow.com)

Source: Poems Old and New 1918-1978 (Ohio University Press, 1981)

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Poet Janet Loxley Lewis 1899–1998

Subjects Heroes & Patriotism, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

 Janet Loxley Lewis

Biography

"Being a writer has meant nearly everything to me beyond my marriage and children," says Janet Lewis in Women Writers of the West Coast: Speaking of Their Lives and Careers. Lewis, whose father and husband both taught college-level English, credits her father "with being the first to teach her the rudiments of good prose and poetic style," according to Donald E. Stanford in the Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook. "[Her] . . .

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Poems by Janet Loxley Lewis

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Heroes & Patriotism, Mythology & Folklore, Greek & Roman Mythology

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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