Timon and Newton were arguing about fruit.
Netwon said: "I prefer the apple
since I discovered gravity while peacefully dozing
under the shade of an apple tree."
Timon shot back with stinging words:
"Newton, you're an idiot, a fool
and utterly conceited in your intelligence.
By Zeus, do you know how to bring owls to Athens!
Your argument reveals nothing new.
All the still corpses that dangled from the branches
of my fig tree fell straight to the ground,
but, unlike Icarus, not one of them ever flew away.
So, for me, the fig is what you call 'gravity,'
and next time you doze beneath a tree
I will awaken you with a barrage of apples!"

“Timon kai Neuton” copyright Christopher Kontonikolis. By arrangement with the author. Translation copyright 2011 by Andrew Barrett. All rights reserved.

Τίμων καὶ Νεύτων ποτ’ ἐρίζετον εἵνεκ’ ὀπωρῶν.
Μῆλον ἄριστον, ἔφη Νεύτων, ὅτι μοι βαρυτῆτα
δεῖξέ ποθ’ εὕδοντι γλυκέως σκιερᾷ ὑπὸ μηλέῃ.
Τὸν δ’ ἀπαμειβόμενος προσέφη Τίμων κακόμυθος
σκαιέ, δοκησίσοφ’, ἠλίθιε, βλάξ, σχέτλιε Νεύτων,
νὴ Δία, γλαῦκας ἔοικε κομίζειν κλεινὸν ἐς ἄστυ
ὡς λόγος• οὐδὲν γὰρ καινὸν φαίνεις περὶ τούτων.
οἱ γὰρ ἀπαγξάμενοι ἀπὸ συκέης πάντες ἔραζε
νεκροὶ κ’ ἄπνοες ἐκ κλώνων ὀρθοὶ τανύοντο,
ἄλλος δ’ ὡς Ἴκαρος τούτων οὐδείς ποτ’ ἀπέπτη•
συκῆ ἄρα προέφηνέ μοι ἣν σὺ καλεῖς βαρυτῆτα.
Σῦκον ἄριστον ἐγὼ καλέω, σὺ δ’ ἐὰν ἐθέλῃσθα
εὗδ’ ὑπὸ δένδρον, ἐγὼ δ’ ἐγερῶ σ’ αὖ μηλοβολήσας!

 
 




Christopher KontonikolisChristopher Kontonikolis

Christopher Kontonikolis was born in Athens in 1981. He studied classics and is now completing a master’s degree in Byzantine literature at the University of Athens. He has composed poems in Greek and in Ancient Greek language and meter. This is his first publication in an American journal.

Translated from Ancient GreekAncient Greek by Andrew BarrettAndrew Barrett

Andrew Barrett is a translator and musician who lives in Rochester, NY, where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Literary Translation degree at the University of Rochester. He is currently translating a portion of Nonnus's Dionysiaca—a lush and expansive Ancient Greek epic from Late Antiquity. Excerpts from his translation of the Dionysiaca appeared in the third issue of Anomalous Press. In June of 2011, he had the honor of working on his translation of the Dionysiaca at the Banff International Literary Translation Centre. He has also translated poems by Modern Greek poet Harris Psarras.