The way we pronounce Uranus – Οὐρανός is an allegory for the risks of translation.  We fix edges around our vowels and punctuate the spaces between.  We say yir-ain-us and not ou-rahn-ous.  The latter lilts and spreads, soft as cream on a cake.  A lemon glaze with leaves of thyme.  The former is strained at every syllable.  We make the word masquerade in other sounds, desecrating a hum of wonder.  A hum of wonder.  Do they call that a hymn – ὕμνος?  Another word from the Greek glossa – γλῶσσα.  Uranus – Οὐρανός blankets and reveals the Earth.  Holds our stars, gathers clouds and dispels the sun.  Sometimes the colour of blue methane rising like the off-kilter planet that took his fame.  It feels better to say ou-rahn-ous and I don’t think that’s just because of body memory.  It’s musicality and the joy of deference.  A deference to nature that is a sore loss for our language.  What can it say about our capacity to care?

Athena Anasiou


Athena Anasiou is a lawyer living between unceded Gadigal and Jerrinja lands. Her writing has been published by Australian Poetry (2020) and the Bundanon Trust (2020).

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