Archive for May, 2015

classics

The prison van drew up and we all got out
— me clutching my library copy of Aeschylus —
twenty minutes maybe, in some kind of holding area,
before finally HMP Brixton welcomed us into its bowels.
At that point my Aeschylus was confiscated.

It used to trouble me greatly not knowing
what happened to that library book.
I would like to think the prison officers returned it
to Willesden Library: I know of course they didn’t,
but some part of me has never let it go in thirty years.

I noticed Sophocles’ Antigone on the BBC recently, with much praise for the new translation by a Canadian named Anne Carson. I began googling Anne Carson, which ended up with my purchasing online her volume of translations of Euripides. The book arrived a couple of days ago. Yesterday I was reading it on the bus when a very old man sat down beside me. I recognised him as George Eugeniou, an actor whom I saw 15 years ago performing Greek tragedy in the original Ancient Greek language, at a little theatre in Camden Town called Theatro Technis. I asked him tentatively if he minded my talking to him, and we struck up conversation based on the book I was reading. And so last night I dreamed I was desperately trying to return items to the library before going on a journey…… In the last couple of months I seem to have lost the habit of pondering my dreams. It’s so easy to forget those few scraps of images which seem insignificant. But it took only a couple of moments’ reflection this morning to realise that my desperation to return the library books in my dream last night, relates to that little paperback Aeschylus I lost in Brixton Prison in 1982.