Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sappho for Bride's Day

Three poems, or fragments of poems, by Sappho, as another contribution to the Fifth Annual Brighid in the Blogosphere Poetry Reading. The last is to Aphrodite. From the Mary Barnard translation.


I have a small
daughter called
Cleis, who is

like a golden
I wouldn't
take all Croesus'
kingdom with love
thrown in, for her


I have no embroidered
headband from Sardis to
give you, Cleis, such as
I wore
and my mother
always said that in her
day a purple ribbon
looped in the hair was thought
to be high style indeed

but we were dark:
a girl
whose hair is yellower than
torchlight should wear no
headdress but fresh flowers


Leave Crete and come to us
waiting where the grove is
pleasantest, by precincts

sacred to you; incense
smokes on the altar, cold
streams murmur though the

apple branches, a young
rose thicket shades the ground
and quivering leaves pour

down deep sleep; in meadows
where horses have grown sleek
among spring flowers, dill

scents the air. Queen! Cyprian!
Fill our gold cups with love
stirred into clear nectar


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I love these poems. Mary Barnard's translations are beautiful.

Dancing With Fey said...

Thank you for reminding my why Sappho is perhaps my favorite poet.

Diane Dehler said...

Hi, I came to visit via Sacred Mandalas and like your blog.