Monday Poetry: Two by Sappho

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Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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8 Responses

  1. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    roughly 2,400 years later, we still understand immediately what it means to be lying awake at midnight

    That, for once, Leno was funny?Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I remember her Jealousy poem… Through the whole thing it talked about how awesome “you” are and closed with something like “I am paler than grass… I am going to die.”

    The late 30’s me says “oh, such hyperbolic twaddle” but the 17 year old says “I had to go back 2400 years to find someone who knows *EXACTLY* how I feel.

    Now I have to google it…Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Oh, I slaughtered it. (Unsurprising.)

      http://www.bopsecrets.org/gateway/passages/sappho.htm

      There are some awesome translations there.

      The cruelest muses inspire the best love poetry.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

        Okay, that’s a great site. This whole project is really making me want to learn ancient Greek. I’ve been practicing Latin every day and want to be more literate in that before I wade into Greek, but it’s really hard to have to figure out which translations might be the best. At some point, I think I’m choosing aesthetics over accuracy, although I guess that’s okay.

        Also, at some point, I have to finish this dissertation!Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. in reply to Jaybird says:

      I know the one you mean. It’s usually called something like “He seems a god to me” because she desires a girl who is with a great man. It’s probably the best Sappho piece there is really. Being unable to talk before the beloved! It’s a state that might not be possible after your early 20s, but I like to hope I love my wife as strongly, if our love isn’t a bit more healthy than anything in my teen years!Report

  3. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    “The cruelest muses inspire the best love poetry.”

    I’ve often thought the Rock’n’roll hall of fame should give some sort of an award to “mean mistreaters”, who have inspired about half the great rock songs.Report