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Sappho, fragment 155
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A short revealing frock?
It's just my luck
your lips were made to mock!

###

Sappho, fragment 156
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

She keeps her scents
in a dressing-case.
And her sense?
In some undiscoverable place.

###

Sappho, fragment 47
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains,
uprooting oaks.

###

Sappho, fragment 50
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros, the limb-shatterer,
rattles me,
an irresistible
constrictor.

###

Sappho, fragment 22
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That enticing girl's clinging dresses
leave me trembling, overcome by happiness,
as once, when I saw the Goddess in my prayers
eclipsing Cyprus.

###

Sappho, fragment 31
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

... at the sight of you,
words fail me...

###

Sappho, fragment 24
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

... don't you remember, in days bygone...
how we, too, did such things, being young?

###

Sappho, fragment 118
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sing, my sacred tortoiseshell lyre;
come, let my words
accompany your voice.

###

Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pain
drains
me
to
the
last
drop
.

###

Sappho, fragment 90
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Mother, how can I weave,
so overwhelmed by love?

###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Someone, somewhere
will remember us,
I swear!

###

Sappho, unnumbered fragment
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What cannot be swept
aside
must be wept.

###

Sappho, fragment 34
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You are,
of all the unapproachable stars,
by far
the fairest,
the brightest―
possessing the Moon's splendor.

###

Sappho, fragment 34
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Awed by the Moon's splendor,
the stars covered their undistinguished faces.
Even so, we.

###

Sappho, fragment 39
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We're merely mortal women,
it's true;
the Goddesses have no rivals
but You.

###

Sappho, fragment 5
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We're eclipsed here by your presence―
you outshine all the ladies of Lydia
as the bright-haloed moon outsplendors the stars.

###

Sappho, fragment 35
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

With my two small arms, how can I
think to encircle the sky?

###

Sappho, fragment 2
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Leaving your heavenly summit,
I submit
to the mountain,
then plummet.

###

Sappho, fragment 129
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You forget me
or you love another more!
It's over.

###

Sappho, fragment 16
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Warriors on rearing chargers,
columns of infantry,
fleets of warships:
some say these are the dark earth's redeeming visions.
But I say―
the one I desire.

And this makes sense
because she who so vastly surpassed all mortals in beauty
―Helen―
seduced by Aphrodite, led astray by desire,
set sail for distant Troy,
abandoning her celebrated husband,
leaving behind her parents and child!

Her story reminds me of Anactoria,
who has also departed,
and whose lively dancing and lovely face
I would rather see than all the horsemen and war-chariots of the Lydians,
or all their infantry parading in flashing armor.

###

Sappho, fragment 137
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Gold does not rust,
yet my son becomes dust?

###

Sappho, fragment 36
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Vain woman, foolish thing!
Do you base your worth on a ring?

###

Sappho, fragment 113
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

No droning bee,
nor even the bearer of honey
for me!

###

Sappho, fragment 113
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Neither the honey
nor the bee
for me!

###

Sappho, fragment 130
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May the gods prolong the night
-"yes, let it last forever! -
as long as you sleep in my sight.

###

Sappho, fragment 37
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I'm undecided.
My mind? Divided.

###

Sappho, fragment 37
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unsure as a babe new-born,
My mind is divided, torn.

###

Sappho, fragment 37
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I don't know what to do:
My mind is divided, two.

###

Sappho, fragment 52
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon has long since set;
the Pleiades are gone;
now half the night is spent,
yet here I lie, alone.

###

Sappho, fragment 100
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the bride comes
let her train rejoice!

###

Sappho, fragment 90
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bridegroom,
was there ever a maid
so like a lovely heirloom?

###

Sappho, fragment 19
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You anoint yourself
with the most exquisite perfume.

###

Sappho, fragment 120
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

But I'm no resenter;
I have a childlike heart...

###

Sappho, fragment 80
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May your head rest
on the breast
of the tenderest guest.

###

Sappho, fragment 80
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Is my real desire for maidenhood?

###

Sappho, fragment 80
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Is there any synergy
in virginity?

###

Sappho, fragment 75
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dica! Do not enter the presence of Goddesses ungarlanded!
First weave sprigs of dill with those delicate hands, if you desire their favor!

###

Sappho, fragment 79
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I cherish extravagance,
intoxicated by Love's celestial splendor.

###

Sappho, fragment 79
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love the sensual
as I love the sun's ecstatic brilliance.

###

Sappho, fragment 81
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Assemble now, Muses, leaving golden landscapes!


###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Darling, let me see your face;
unleash your eyes' grace.

###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch


Turn to me, favor me
with your eyes' acceptance.


###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Look me in the face,
smile,
reveal your eyes' grace...

###

Sappho, fragment 4
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon shone, full
as the virgins ringed Love's altar...

###

Sappho, fragment 11
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You inflame me!

###

Sappho, fragment 11
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

###

You ignite and inflame me...
You melt me.

###

Sappho, fragment 12
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am an acolyte
of wile-weaving
Aphrodite.

###

Sappho, fragment 14
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Eros
descends from heaven,
discarding his imperial purple mantle.

###

Sappho, fragment 35
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Although you are very dear to me
you must marry a younger filly:
for I'm by far too old for you,
and this old mare's just not that **** silly.

###

Sappho, after Anacreon
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Once more I dive into this fathomless sea,
intoxicated by lust.

###

Sappho, after Menander
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Some say Sappho was the first ardent maiden
goaded by wild emotion
to fling herself from the white-frothed rocks
into this raging ocean
for love of Phaon...
but others reject that premise
and say it was Aphrodite, for love of Adonis.

###

Sappho, fragment 3
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To me that boy seems
blessed by the gods
because he sits beside you,
basking in your brilliant presence.

The sound of your voice roils my heart!
Your laughter? ―bright water, dislodging pebbles

in a chaotic vortex. You **** up my breath!
My heart bucks in my ribs. I can't breathe. I can't speak.

My ******* glow with intense heat;
desire's blush-inducing fires redden my flesh.
My ears seem hollow; they ring emptily.
My tongue is broken and cleaves to its roof.

I sweat profusely. I shiver.
Suddenly, I grow pale
and feel only a second short of dying.
And yet I must endure, somehow,

despite my poverty.

###

Sappho, fragment 93
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You're the sweetest apple reddening on the highest bough,
which the harvesters missed, or forgot―somehow―

or perhaps they just couldn't reach you, then or now.

###

Sappho, fragment 145
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Prometheus the Fire-Bearer
robbed the Gods of their power, and so
brought mankind and himself to woe...
must you repeat his error?

###

Sappho, fragment 159
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May I lead?
Will you follow?
Foolish man!

Ears so hollow,
minds so shallow,
never can!

###

Sappho, fragments 122 & 123
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your voice―
a sweeter liar
than the lyre,
more dearly sold
and bought, than gold.

###

Sappho, fragment 42
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

She wrapped herself then in
most delicate linen.

###

Sappho, fragment 70
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That rustic girl bewitches your heart?
Hell, her most beguiling art's
hiking the hem of her dress
to ****** you with her ankles' nakedness!

###

Sappho, fragment 94
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Shepherds trample the larkspur
whose petals empurple the heath,
foreshadowing shepherds' grief.

###

Sappho, fragment 100
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The softest pallors grace
her lovely face.

###

Sappho, fragment 36
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I yearn for―I burn for―the one I miss!

###

Sappho, fragment 30
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Maidens, keeping vigil all night long,
go make a lovely song,
someday, out of desires you abide
for the violet-petalled bride.

Or better yet―arise, regale!
Go entice the eligible bachelors
so that we shocked elders
can sleep less than love-plagued nightingales!

###

Sappho, fragment 121
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A tender maiden plucking flowers
persuades the knave
to heroically brave
the world's untender hours.

###

Sappho, fragment 68
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lady,
soon you'll lie dead, disregarded;
then imagine how quickly your reputation fades...
you who never gathered the roses of Pieria
must assume your place among the obscure,
uncelebrated shades.

###

Sappho, fragment 137
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Death is evil;
the Gods all agree;
for, had death been good,
the Gods would be mortal
like me.

###

Sappho, fragment 43
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Come, dear ones,
let us cease our singing:
morning dawns.

###

Sappho, fragment 14
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Today
may
buffeting winds bear
my distress and care
away.

###

Sappho, fragment 15
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Just now I was called,
enthralled,
by the golden-sandalled
dawn...

###

Sappho, fragment 69
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Into the soft arms of the girl I once spurned,
I gladly returned.

###

Sappho, fragment 29
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since my paps are dry and my barren womb rests,
let me praise lively girls with violet-sweet *******.

###

Sappho, fragment 1
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Beautiful swift sparrows
rising on whirring wings
flee the dark earth for the sun-bright air...

###

Sappho, fragment 58
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The girls of the ripening maidenhead wore garlands.

###

Sappho, fragment 94 & 98
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Listen, my dear;
by the Goddess I swear
that I, too,
(like you)
had to renounce my false frigidity
and surrender my virginity.
My wedding night was not so bad;
you too have nothing to fear, so be glad!
(But then why do I still sometimes think with dread
of my lost maidenhead?)

###

Sappho, fragment 100
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bridegroom, rest
on the tender breast
of the maiden you love best.

###

Sappho, fragment 103
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Maidenhead! Maidenhead!
So swiftly departed!
Why have you left us
forever brokenhearted?

###

Sappho, fragment 2
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch, after Sappho and Tennyson

I sip the cup of costly death;
I lose my color; I catch my breath
whenever I contemplate your presence,
or absence.

###

Sappho, fragment 2
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

How can I compete with that ****** man
who fancies himself one of the gods,
impressing you with his "eloquence, "
when just the thought of sitting in your radiant presence,
of hearing your lovely voice and lively laughter,
sets my heart hammering at my breast?
Hell, when I catch just a quick glimpse of you,
I'm left speechless, tongue-tied,
and immediately a blush like a delicate flame reddens my skin.
Then my vision dims with tears,
my ears ring,
I sweat profusely,
and every muscle in my body trembles.
When the blood finally settles,
I grow paler than summer grass,
till in my exhausted madness,
I'm as limp as the dead.
And yet I must risk all, being bereft without you...

###

Sappho, fragments 73 & 74
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

They have been very generous with me,
the violet-strewing Muses;
thanks to their gifts
I have become famous.

###

Sappho, fragment 3
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stars ringing the lovely moon
pale to insignificance
when she illuminates the earth
with her magnificence.

###

Sappho, fragment 49
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You have returned!
You did well to not depart
because I pined for you.
Now you have re-lit the torch
I bear for you in my heart,
this flare of Love.
I bless you and bless you and bless you
because we're no longer apart.

###

Sappho, fragment 52
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Yesterday,
you came to my house
to sing for me.

Today,
I come to you
to return the favor.

Talk to me. Do.
Sweet talk,
I love the flavor!

Please send away your maids
and let us share a private heaven-
haven.

###

Sappho, fragment 19
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

There was no dance,
no sacred dalliance,
from which we were absent.

###

Sappho, fragment 20
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

... shot through
with innumerable hues...

###

Sappho, fragment 38
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I flutter
after you
like a chick after its mother...

###

Sappho, fragment 30
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stay!
I will lay
out a cushion for you
with plushest pillows...

###

Sappho, fragment 50
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My body descends
and my comfort depends
on your welcoming cushions!

###

Sappho, fragment 133
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Of all the stars the fairest,
Hesperus,
Lead the maiden straight to the bridegroom's bed,
honoring Hera, the goddess of marriage.

###

Sappho, fragment 134
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Selene came to Endymion in the cave,
made love to him as he slept,
then crept away before the sun could prove
its light and warmth the more adept.

###

Sappho, fragment 4
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

"Honestly, I just want to die! "
So she said,
crying heartfelt tears,
inconsolably sad
to leave me.

And she said,
"How deeply we have loved,
we two,
Sappho!
Oh,
I really don't want to go! "

I answered her thus:
"Go, and be happy,
remembering me,
for you know how much I cared for you.
And if you don't remember,
please let me remind you
of all the lovely emotions we felt
as with many wreathes of violets,
roses and crocuses
you sat beside me
adorning your delicate neck.

Once garlands had been fashioned of many woven flowers,
with much expensive myrrh
we anointed our bodies like royalty
on soft couches,
then your tender caresses
fulfilled your desire..."

###

Sappho's Rose
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The rose is...
the ornament of the earth,
the glory of nature,
the archetype of the flowers,
the blush of the meadows,
a lightning flash of beauty.

Keywords/Tags: Sappho, ******, Greek, translation, epigram, epigrams, love, ***, desire, passion, lust
King Arthur Apr 9
Praise be to Sappho
Noblest of poets
Lover of words and women
Who gave us that language
So we could love women
As well
Sappho's Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy Michael Burch

Hushed yet melodic, the hills and the valleys
sleep unaware of the nightingale's call
as the dew-laden lilies lie
listening,
glistening...
this is their night, the first night of fall.

Son, tonight, a woman awaits you;
she is more vibrant, more lovely than spring.
She'll meet you in moonlight,
soft and warm,
all alone...
then you'll know why the nightingale sings.

Just yesterday the stars were afire;
then how desire flashed through my veins!
But now I am older;
night has come,
I'm alone...
for you I will sing as the nightingale sings.

Keywords/Tags: Sappho, lullaby, mother, mother and child, song, sing, singing, melancholic, hush, hushed, melodic, nightingale, lilies, night, fall, autumn, son, mother, lover, spring, moonlight, stars, flash, desire, pulse, veins, older, mature love, nurturing, calm, comforting
cat Apr 3
recite me sappho
through your breath
and beneath your palms
Hymn to Aphrodite
by Sappho
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Immortal Aphrodite, throned in splendor!
Wile-weaving daughter of Zeus, enchantress, and beguiler!
I implore you, dread mistress, discipline me no longer
with love's anguish!

But come to me once again in kindness,
heeding my prayers as you have done before;
O, come Divine One, descend once again from
heaven's golden dominions!

Your chariot yoked to love's consecrated doves,
their multitudinous pinions aflutter,
you once came gliding from the utmost heights, to
the dark-bosomed earth.

Swiftly they came and vanished, leaving you,
O my Goddess, smiling, your face eternally beautiful,
asking me what unfathomable longing compelled me
to cry out.

Asking me what I sought in my hopeless, bewildered desire.
Asking, "Who has harmed you, why are you so alarmed,
my poor Sappho? Whom should
Persuasion summon here?"

"Though today she flees love, soon she will pursue you;
spurning love's gifts, soon she shall return them;
tomorrow she will woo you,
however unwillingly!"

Come to me now, most Holy Aphrodite!
Release me from my heavy heartache and anguish;
grant me all I request, be once again
my ally and protector!

"Hymn to Aphrodite" is the only poem by Sappho of ****** to survive in its entirety. The poem survived intact because it was quoted in full by Dionysus, a Roman orator, in his "On Literary Composition," published around 30 B.C. A number of Sappho's poems mention or are addressed to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. It is believed that Sappho may have belonged to a cult that worshiped Aphrodite with songs and poetry. If so, "Hymn to Aphrodite" may have been composed for performance within the cult. We do know that Sappho was held in very high regard. For instance, when Sappho visited Syracuse the residents were so honored they erected a statue to commemorate the occasion! During Sappho's lifetime, coins of ****** were minted with her image. Furthermore, Sappho was called "the Tenth Muse" and the other nine were goddesses. Keywords/Tags: Sapphic, Sappho, ******, translation, ancient Greek, hymn, Aphrodite, Zeus, daughter, immortal, goddess, holy, lady, heaven, enchantress, enchantment, love potion, charm, spell, persuasion, beguiler, beguilement, mistress, discipline, *******, prayer, prayers, chariot, heaven, descent, ally, protector, lust, desire, passion, longing, ***, crush, girlfriend, women, grief
Hymn to Aphrodite
by Sappho (her only complete poem)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Immortal Aphrodite, throned in splendor!
Wile-weaving daughter of Zeus, enchantress, and beguiler!
I implore you, dread mistress, discipline me no longer
with love's anguish!

But come to me once again in kindness,
heeding my prayers as you have done before;
O, come Divine One, descend once again from heaven's
golden dominions!

Your chariot yoked to love's consecrated doves,
their multitudinous pinions aflutter,
you once came gliding from the utmost heights, to
this dark earth.

Swiftly they came and vanished, leaving you,
O my Goddess, smiling, your face eternally beautiful,
asking me what unfathomable longing compelled me
to cry out.

Asking me what I sought in my hopeless, bewildered desire.
Asking, "Who has harmed you, why are you so alarmed,
my poor Sappho? Whom should Persuasion
summon here?"

"Though today she flees love, soon she will pursue you;
spurning love's gifts, she soon shall return them;
tomorrow she will woo you,
however unwillingly!"

Come to me now, most Holy Aphrodite!
Release me from my heavy heartache and anguish;
grant me all I request, be once again
my ally and protector!

"Hymn to Aphrodite" is the only poem by Sappho of ****** to survive in its entirety. The poem survived intact because it was quoted in full by Dionysus, a Roman orator, in his "On Literary Composition," published around 30 B.C. A number of Sappho's poems mention or are addressed to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. It is believed that Sappho may have belonged to a cult that worshiped Aphrodite with songs and poetry. If so, "Hymn to Aphrodite" may have been composed for performance within the cult. We do know that Sappho was held in very high regard. For instance, when Sappho visited Syracuse the residents were so honored they erected a statue to commemorate the occasion! During Sappho's lifetime, coins of ****** were minted with her image. Furthermore, Sappho was called "the Tenth Muse" and the other nine were goddesses. Keywords/Tags: Sapphic, Sappho, ******, translation, ancient Greek, hymn, Aphrodite, Zeus, daughter, immortal, goddess, holy, lady, heaven, enchantress, enchantment, love potion, charm, spell, persuasion, beguiler, beguilement, mistress, discipline, *******, prayer, prayers, chariot, heaven, descent, ally, protector, lust, desire, passion, longing, ***, crush, girlfriend, women, grief
JustMK Feb 22
Fluttering about, they crowd the skies,
their wax-paper wings catching warm breezes.
And my stomach does the same,
the way the earth falls away
when you walk too close to the edge
-giddy with anticipation
of a moment that will never come.
Never be mine.

Your hand brushes mine-
and accident I know,
but my heart can't help;
it leaps and sings for joy.
And once again I churn over the thought,
the possibility of perhaps
letting you catch me staring
at the way the light settles on your shoulders.

If I were to let my eyes wander
across your jaw, skip across your lips.
Let myself admire the stardust
scattered across your cheeks
and the gentle ***** of your brow.
If I only had the courage
to explore the endless depths of your eye
like a sailor at sea.

I'd drown.

You are far too wonderful
and I have no answer
as to what I must do
when the need to weave my fingers
through yours overtakes me.

So I pray to Artemis, Sappho, Persephone,
any who would heed my call:
that you might look at me,
and perhaps grow to love me
in that same way.
That when I summon up the courage,
they might soften my fall
and slow my descent.
One week into living with them some small butterflies migrated through our neighborhood, and masses and masses of them were drifting all about. I'd resolved to tell them on Valentines day, hoping that they might feel the same and deciding that I didn't want the crush to go away.
N Jul 2019
Goddess of Love
I worshiped
the poetry of her

Her voice sounded
like a soft prayer
Able to convert
an atheist to a priest

She’s Aphrodite
and I’m a Sapphist

Who wrote poems
like unheard pleas
from a tormented soul—
sentenced with death
soon to be beheaded

I invoked thee,
my Aphrodite
I’ll be thy Sappho
if you’d answer to
my pleas poems

And in them,
I’d implore you
to abate this intolerable agony, and
allay me in this deathlike solitude
with thy godly presence




I swear on love letters
and you
for it’s the last poem
I write about you
emm Nov 2019
you are sweet as honey
and warm like the sun

a gentle breeze on the plain green fields.


the light side of the moon;
a hotspring in winter.

you are the flowers that grow,
in a garden of weeds

you are the light that the world needs.
based on my girlfriend who i love
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