According to Adam Nicolson, some of the earliest poems were found in Sumer in cuneiform, dating from nearly two thousand years before Homer’s epics were committed to papyrus, around 2600 BC.  Only fragments remain.  I wonder if anyone has thought of posting those fragments in a place where today’s poets can weave the missing lines, making good the fabric of the poem.

And why is it that I find it easier to cast my mind back 2600 years and imagine people writing poetry, than to fling it forward 2600 years and imagine people, or anything, relating to poetry?  This is becoming a habit – where I see a date far back, I take the lassoo of time and try to strike a rock of possibility, equidistant in time forward.  2600 years from now takes us to 4617.

Write me a poem dated 4617.

Source: Adam Nicolson, The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters (London: William Collins, 2015), p. 50 & 51

Photo credit: Wikimedia.org

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