Sappho

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by Charles August Mengin, 1877

Sappho was an archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Sappho wrote lyric poetry and is best known for her poems about love and women. Most of Sappho’s poetry is now lost, and what is extant has survived only in fragmentary form, except for one complete poem – the “Ode to Aphrodite”.

 

Ode To Aphrodite

Deathless Aphrodite, throned in flowers,
Daughter of Zeus, O terrible enchantress,
With this sorrow, with this anguish, break my spirit
Lady, not longer!

Hear anew the voice! O hear and listen!
Come, as in that island dawn thou camest,
Billowing in thy yoked car to Sappho
Forth from thy father’s

Golden house in pity! … I remember:
Fleet and fair thy sparrows drew thee, beating
Fast their wings above the dusky harvests,
Down the pale heavens,

Lightning anon! And thou, O blest and brightest,
Smiling with immortal eyelids, asked me:
‘Maiden, what betideth thee? Or wherefore
Callest upon me?

‘What is here the longing more than other,
Here in this mad heart? And who the lovely
One beloved that wouldst lure to loving?
Sappho, who wrongs thee?

‘See, if now she flies, she soon must follow;
Yes, if spurning gifts, she soon must offer;
Yes, if loving not, she soon must love thee,
Howso unwilling…’

Come again to me! O now! Release me!
End the great pang! And all my heart desireth
Now of fulfillment, fulfill! O Aphrodite,
Fight by my shoulder!

 

Sappho

The Rip

As she walks in the room
Scented and tall
Hesitating once more
And as I take on myself
And the bitterness I felt
I realise that love flows
Wild, white horses
They will take me away
And the tenderness I feel
Will send the dark underneath
Will I follow?
Through the glory of life
I will scatter on the floor
Disappointed and sore
And in my thoughts I have bled
For the riddles I’ve been fed
Another lie moves over
Wild, white horses
They will take me away
And the tenderness I feel
Will send the dark underneath
Will I follow?
Wild, white horses
They will take me away
And the tenderness I feel
Will send the dark underneath
Will I follow?

….prophetically beautiful, both musically and thematically.