IRAS 05437+2502 nebulaLet Zeus be foremost—never may our hymns
Omit him. Zeus fills roads and markets, brims
Oceans and bays. By Zeus alone we live,
Born as his children, too. He deigns to give
Signs out of kindness to remind us rest
Must yield to work. He shows which soil is best
For cows, and which for hoes, and oversees
Seasons for sowing seeds and planting trees.
Grouping the stars, he fixed them in the skies
As clusters and took care to organize
The annual astral passages in clear
Rotations, so the crops thrive every year.
Our prayers begin and end, therefore, with Zeus.

Hail to a marvel, a helper we can use!
I greet you, Patriarch, your elder race,
And all you honeyed Muses. By your grace,
I aim to rise as high as mortal may,
Hymning the heavens while you light the way.

Aratus. translated, with an introduction and notes, by Aaron Poochigian. Phaenomena. © 2010 The Johns Hopkins University Press. Reprinted with permission of The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, R. Sahai (JPL)

Aaron Poochigian was born in 1973. He attended Moorhead State University from 1991 to 1996 where he studied under the poets Tim Murphy, Dave Mason and Alan Sullivan. He entered graduate school for Classics in 1997 at the University of Minnesota. After traveling and doing research in Greece on fellowship from 2003-4, he earned his Phd in Classics in 2006. He was a visiting professor of Classics at the University of Utah in 2007-8 and D.L. Jordon Fellow at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia from 2008-2009. He now lives and writes in New York City.

He has recently completed translations, with introduction and notes, of Sappho’s poems and fragments for Penguin Classics. His translations of Aeschylus, Aratus and Apollonius of Rhodes appeared in the Norton Anthology of Greek Literature in Translation, and Johns Hopkins University Press put out his edition of Aratus’ astronomical poem, The Phaenomena, with his introduction and notes, in the Spring of 2010. His original poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Arion, The Dark Horse, Poetry Magazine and Smartish Pace.