Roz Kaveney (rozk) wrote,
Roz Kaveney

More Sappho

It's been one of those days when I would have a migraine if I hadn't had one a few days ago, and when I am sort of tingly - I ought to go and hear natalie456 read but I haven't done enough work and I ought to cook. And it is cold outside.

So I pulled out another of Sappho's Greatest Hits, and decided to see what happened. As with the last one, the speaker isn't me, exactly. It's someone much more confident, but not entirely.

And someone who hasn't been with someone 21 years.

Hymn to Aphrodite

Aphrodite, Astarte, Venus, Love
Many-named goddess
Who does not exist
But maybe talking to you
Makes you,
Brings you here.
Someone said it's states of mind.
Get there
by getting there.
So, do the humble bit
Good Goddess
Nice Goddess

You talk soft
to predators.

Please don't fuck me up
If you are there
Don't hurt me
your humble servant,

Like you're on the phone
And counsel me
like a Samaritan
Or a call centre.

you could come
through dust-coloured, soot-coloured grubby
thousands of them
little threads,
so strong,
tugging your chariot

or maybe it's a car,
a bright red Maserati
No sparrows,
London sparrows
any more
- that's sad.

Your birds
that fuck and twitter
And are many
common as dirt
and each one perfect
ball of feathers
and lust.

So beautiful
Not my type
The botoxed blonde
you see in ads
and movies.
How every goddess
in these sad days.
is telling them apart.

So come and say
As if we were old friends
What's up now Sappho?
Is your head hurting
or your heart
or is it just an itch
between your thighs?

Who's the girl this time?
Who do I have to pull
For you?
Who broke your heart
or gave you clap

bad girl?

She'll suffer
It'll turn around
She'll be the chaser
Who was oh so chaste?

The fire will burn her
Who sets you ablaze.
I'll fix it
Like I always do'

She yawns and smiles.

So good to have imaginary friends
for confidence
and maybe it will work
just one more time.

I really want this girl.

On the throne of many hues, Immortal Aphrodite,
child of Zeus, weaving wiles--I beg you
not to subdue my spirit, Queen,
with pain or sorrow

but come--if ever before
having heard my voice from far away
you listened, and leaving your father's
golden home you came

in your chariot yoked with swift, lovely
sparrows bringing you over the dark earth
thick-feathered wings swirling down
from the sky through mid-air

arriving quickly--you, Blessed One,
with a smile on your unaging face
asking again what have I suffered
and why am I calling again

and in my wild heart what did I most wish
to happen to me: "Again whom must I persuade
back into the harness of your love?
Sappho, who wrongs you?

For if she flees, soon she'll pursue,
she doesn't accept gifts, but she'll give,
if not now loving, soon she'll love
even against her will."

Come to me now again, release me from
this pain, everything my spirit longs
to have fulfilled, fulfill, and you
be my ally
Tags: poetry translation sappho
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