Peter Curman


The Charioteer of Delphi

Still in his gaze
the statue in Delphi’s museum stands
on the victory chariot under the triumphal arch:
Straight-backed and without moving a muscle
he is the emblem of the harmony
that transcends time and death
— his own and ours.
Untouched by the surge of incidental victory
he holds the reins gathered in his right hand.
His tunic hangs in heavy folds
as if untouched by the passing breeze.

His facial features are still as handsome and absent
as they once were when sculpted in the honor of Polyzalos
His eyes with their alert pupils
look at us right through the prison of time
To keep your calm in the midst of life’s eddies
is what the driver of Delphi teaches
Not to let yourself be seduced by the moment’s victory or defeat
To stand strong and tall through life’s ups and downs
With a firm hand steering this unmanageable

The Charioteer of Delphi. Poems By Peter Curman. Translated from the Swedish by Verne Moberg, Jim Potts and Karin Altenberg and Peter Curman. Helicon Plus, St. Petersburg, 2011 (5th added edition).

Available in pdf format on the page / Peter Curmans‘ poetry.


16 December 2022