there is a silence

the silence is a quotation

the quotation is from Agamemnon, a play written in 458 B.C.E.

the play is about a woman murdering a man

the woman’s murder is predicted by another woman: a mad woman

the mad woman will not be silent, she remembers

the remembering happens to everyone except the man who is murdered: he has forgotten

the forgotten thing is:

And on her lovely mouth—

to check the cry that would have cursed his house—
he fixed a bridle.…
for she used to sing to them around her father’s table,
blessing their libation in her pure girl’s voice—


what happened then I did not see and cannot tell.

the telling is done by Anne Carson, two and a half centuries after the silencing

the silencing is a curse, and is full of curses

the curse is these lines, spoken ten years after the man murders his daughter; a thousand lines later, the knife falls on him, the one he raised on his daughter

the daughter is alive in the silence

the silence is the poem

Sophie Mayer


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