“Nothing is more permanent than the temporary”

A really good essay can be read and re-read just like a really good novel. Example: Austerity Measures: A Letter from Greece, by translator A.E. Stallings, in a recent issue of Poetry. Have read it several times. 

So good it's difficult to figure out what to quote in this poetry-rich piece. Every time I find a line or two, it turns out to be part of a longer passage, which turns out to be just as delectable. Hard to choose! 

So: here's a Greek proverb suitable for Stallings' situation (a translator who moved with her family to Greece for a couple of years, and has been there a decade). For Greece's situation — a perpetual crisis. And even for poetry, which as Stallings notes, is "the opposite of austerity." 

Nothing is more permanent than the temporary

Heraclitus would understand. 

One thought on ““Nothing is more permanent than the temporary”

  1. Interesting piece so far, thanks.

    An odd thing I noticed is her remark about “argomisthos—a uniquely Greek word with no English equivalent, meaning a salaried position without actual duties attached” — that equivalent is sinecure.


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