Supreme Sight on the Black Earth

Some say cavalry and others claim
infantry or a fleet of long oars
is the supreme sight on the black earth.
I say it is

the one you love. And easily proved.
Didn't Helen, who far surpassed all
mortals in beauty, desert the best
of men, her king,

and sail off to Troy and forget
her daughter and her dear parents? Merely
Aphrodite's gaze made her readily bend
and led her far

from her path. These tales remind me now
of Anaktoria who isn't here,
yet I
for one

would rather see her warm supple step
and the sparkle in her face than watch all
the chariots in Lydia and foot soldiers armored
in glittering bronze.

Translated by Willis Barnstone