Sappho poems are full of strong emotions and passion. She expressed her feelings about love and desire with intensity. Unfortunately, much of Sappho’s work has been lost over time, and what remains are fragments.
Sappho celebrated the beauty of people and nature in her poems. She had a keen eye for the beauty in the world around her and expressed it in her verses.
Sappho poems are notable for their female perspective. She explored the experiences and emotions of women, giving a voice to their thoughts and feelings.
Love, especially romantic love, is a central theme in Sappho’s poetry. Her verses explore the complexities of relationships.
She provides readers with a glimpse into her own experiences and emotions. This makes her work relatable and heartfelt.
Let’s read some Sappho poems and enjoy.
Slumber streams from quivering leaves that listless
Bask in heat and stillness of Lesbian summer;
Breathless swoons the air with the apple-blossoms’
From the shade of branches that droop and cover
Shallow trenches winding about the orchard,
Restful comes, and cool to the sense, the flowing
Murmur of water.
Hither now, O Muses, leaving the golden
House of God unseen in the azure spaces,
Come and breathe on bosom and brow and kindle
Song like the sunglow;
Come and lift my shaken soul to the sacred
Shadow cast by Helicon’s rustling forests;
Sweep on wings of flame from the middle ether,
Seize and uplift me;
Thrill my heart that throbs with unwonted fervor,
Chasten mouth and throat with immortal kisses,
Till I yield on maddening heights the very
Breath of my body.
Long ago beloved, thy memory, Atthis,
Saddens still my heart as the soft Æolic
Twilight deepens down on the sea, and fitful
Winds that have wandered
Over groves of myrtle at Amathonte
Waft forgotten passion on breaths of perfume.
Long ago, how madly I loved thee, Atthis!
Loved one, mine no more, who lovest another
More than me; the silent flute and the faded
Garlands haunt the heart of me thou forgettest,
Long since thy lover….
Come with Musagetes, ye Hours and Graces,
Dance around the team of swans that attend him
Up Parnassian heights, to his holy temple
High on the hill-top;
Come, ye Muses, too, from the shades of Pindus,
Let your songs, that echo on winds of rapture,
Wake the lyre he tunes to the sweet inspiring
Sound of your voices.
Moon And Stars
When the moon at full on the sill of heaven
Lights her beacon, flooding the earth with silver,
All the shining stars that about her cluster
Hide their fair faces;
So when Anactoria’s beauty dazzles
Sight of mine, grown dim with the joy it gives me,
Gorgo, Atthis, Gyrinno, all the others
Fade from my vision.
I shall be ever maiden,
Ever the little child,
In my passionate quest for the lovely,
By earth’s glad wonder beguiled.
I shall be ever maiden,
Standing in soul apart,
For the Gods give the secret of beauty
Alone to the virgin heart.
Once on a time
They say that Leda found
Beneath the thyme
An egg upon the ground;
And yet the swan
She fondled long ago
Was whiter than
Its shell of peeping snow.
Now Love shakes my soul, a mighty
Wind from the high mountain falling
Full on the oaks of the forest;
Now, limb-relaxing, it masters
My life and implacable thrills me,
Rending with anguish and rapture.
Now my heart, paining my bosom,
Pants with desire as a mænad
Mad for the orgiac revel.
Now under my skin run subtle
Arrows of flame, and my body
Quivers with surge of emotion.
Now long importunate yearnings
Vanquish with surfeit my reason;
Fainting my senses forsake me.
Gold is the son of Zeus,
Nor moth nor worm may eat it,
Nor rust tarnish.
So are the Muse’s gifts
The offspring fair,
That merit from high heaven
If it pleased the whim of Zeus in an idle
Hour to choose a king for the flowers, he surely
Would have crowned the rose for its regal beauty,
Deeming it peerless;
By its grace is valley and hill embellished,
Earth is made a shrine for the lover’s ardor;
Dear it is to flowers as the charm of lovely
Eyes are to mortals;
Joy and pride of plants, and the garden’s glory,
Beauty’s blush it brings to the cheek of meadows;
Draining fire and dew from the dawn for rarest
Color and odor;
Softly breathed, its scent is a plea for passion,
When it blooms to welcome the kiss of Kypris;
Sheathed in fragrant leaves its tremulous petals
Laugh in the zephyr.
The Daughter Of Cyprus
Dreaming I spake with the Daughter of Cyprus,
Heard the languor soft of her voice, the blended
Suave accord of tones interfused with laughter
Low and desireful;
Dreaming saw her dread ineffable beauty,
Saw through texture fine of her clinging tunic
Blush the fire of flesh, the rose of her body,
Saw through filmy meshes the melting lovely
Flow of line, the exquisite curves, whence piercing
Rapture reached with tangible touch to thrill me,
Almost to slay me;
Saw the gleaming foot, and the golden sandal
Held by straps of Lydian work thrice doubled
Over the instep’s arch, and up the rounded
Saw the charms that shimmered from knee to shoulder,
Hint of hues, than milk or the snowdrift whiter;
Secret grace, the shrine of the soul of passion,
Glows that consumed me;
Saw the gathered mass of her xanthic tresses,
Mitra-bound, escape from the clasping fillet,
Float and shine as clouds in the sunset splendor,
Mists in the dawn-fire;
Saw the face immortal, and daring greatly,
Raised my eyes to hers of unfathomed azure,
Drank their world’s desire, their limitless longing,
Swooned and was nothing.
Kypris, hear my prayer to thee and the Nereids!
Safely bring the ship of my brother homewards,
Bring him back unharmed to the heart that loves him,
Fair Immortal, banish from mind, I pray thee,
Every discord’s hint that of yore estranged us;
Grant that never again dissension’s hateful
Wrangle shall part us;
May he never in days to come remember
Keen reproach of mine that had grieved him sorely;
Words that broke my very heart when I heard them
Uttered by others;
Words that wounded deep and recurring often,
Bowed his head with shame at the public banquet;
Where my scorn, amid festal joy and laughter,
Sharpened the covert
Jests that stung his pride and assailed his folly,
Slave-espoused when he, a Lesbian noble,
Might have won the fairest in Mitylene,
Virgins the noblest;
Open slurs that linked his name with Doricha,
Lovely slave that Xanthes had sold in Egypt;
She whose wondrous charms the wealth of Charaxus
Ransomed from bondage.
Now that he is gone and my anger vanished,
Keen regret and grief for the pain I gave him
Pierce my heart, and fear of loss that is anguish
Darkens the daylight.
Bride, that goest to the bridal chamber
In the dove-drawn car of Aphrodite,
By a band of dimpled
Bride, of maidens all the fairest image
Mitylene treasures of the Goddess,
Are thy playmates;
Bride, O fair and lovely, thy companions
Are the gracious hours that onward passing
For thy gladsome footsteps
Bride, that blushing like the sweetest apple
On the very branch’s end, so strangely
By the gleaners;
Bride, that like the apple that was never
Overlooked but out of reach so plainly,
Only one thy rarest
Fruit may gather;
Bride, that into womanhood has ripened
For the harvest of the bridegroom only,
He alone shall taste thy
Vesper is here! behold
Faint gleams that welcome shine!
Rise from the feast, O youths,
And chant the fescennine!
Before the porch we sing
The hymeneal song;
Vesper is here, O youths!
The star we waited long.
We lead the festal groups
Across the bridegroom’s porch;
Vesper is here, O youths!
Wave high the bridal torch.
Hail, noble bridegroom, hail!
The virgin fair has come;
Unlatch the door and lead
Her timid footsteps home.
Hail, noble bridegroom, hail!
Straight as a tender tree;
Fond as a folding vine
Thy bride will cling to thee.
Pale death shall come, and thou and thine shall be,
Then and thereafter, to all memory
Forgotten as the wind that yesterday
Blew the last lingering apple buds away;
For thou hadst never that undying rose
To grace the brow and shed immortal glows;
Pieria’s fadeless flower that few may claim
To wreathe and save thy unremembered name.
Ay! even on the fields of Dis unknown,
Obscure among the shadows and alone,
Thy flitting shade shall pass uncomforted
Of any heed from all the flitting dead.
But no one maid, I think, beneath the skies,
At any time shall live and be as wise,
In sooth, as I am; for the Muses Nine
Have made me honored and their gifts are mine;
And men, I think, will never quite forget
My songs or me; so long as stars shall set
Or sun shall rise, or hearts feel love’s desire,
My voice shall cross their dreams, a sigh of fire.
Death is an evil; so the Gods decree,
So they have judged, and such must rightly be
Our mortal view; for they who dwell on high
Had never lived, had it been good to die.
And so the poet’s house should never know
Of tears and lamentations any show;
Such things befit not us who deathless sing
Of love and beauty, gladness and the spring.
No hint of grief should mar the features of
Our dreams of endless beauty, lasting love;
For they reflect the joy inviolate,
Eternal calm that fronts whatever fate.
Clëis, my darling, grieve no more, I pray!
Let wandering winds thy sorrow bear away,
And all our care; my daughter, let thy smile
Shine through thy tears and gladden me the while.
This is all about Sappho poems.