Three Poems by Sappho
Sappho, Charles Mengin, 1877
O dream on your black wings
you come when I am sleeping.
Sweet is the god but still I am
in agony and far from my strength.
for I had hope (none now) to share
something of the blessed gods,
nor was I so foolish
as to scorn pleasant toys.
Now may I have
all these things.
Of course I am downcast and tremble
with pity for my state
when old age and wrinkles cover me,
when Eros flies about
and I pursue the glorious young.
Pick up your lyre
and sing to us of her who wears
violets on her breasts. Sing especially
of her who is wandering.
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,
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.
About the Author:
Sappho (c.612 BC – c.570 BC) was an Ancient Greek poet, born on the island of Lesbos.