Before I discuss my thoughts about Sappho’s poetry, I thought that I would share a short yet fascinating biography of the poet and her work, which I found on the description of the pictured book: ‘Today, thousands of years after her birth, in lands remote from her native island of Lesbos and in languages that did not exist when she wrote her poetry in Aeolic Greek, Sappho remains an important name among lovers of poetry and poets alike. Celebrated throughout antiquity as the supreme Greek poet of love and of the personal lyric, noted especially for her limpid fusion of formal poise, lucid insight, and incandescent passion, today her poetry is also prized for its uniquely vivid participation in a living paganism. Collected in an edition of nine scrolls by scholars in the second century BC, Sappho’s poetry largely disappeared when the Fourth Crusade sacked Constantinople in 1204. All that remained was one poem and a handful of quoted passages. A century ago papyrus fragments recovered in Egypt added a half dozen important texts to Sappho’s surviving works.’
I had never read anything of Sappho’s before and really thought that I ought to, so I decided to add it to my Classics Club list. It is one of the choices which I was most looking forward to, and as soon as I found a copy of her work, I read it immediately. Throughout, I found the imagery beautiful. Mythology and emotions are linked in the most stunning manner.
I would like to share a portion of ‘Come to Me Here From Crete’, one of my favourite fragments of her work:
‘And below the apple branches, cold
Clear water sounds, everything shadowed
By roses, and sleep that falls from
Bright shaking leaves’.
I found Sappho’s poetry stunning, rich and beautiful, and only wish there had been more of it!