Poetry Tuesday: Sappho

To An Army Wife in Sardis

Translation by Dianella Gioseffi, from the anthology Women on War (The Feminist Press, 2003)

Some say a cavalry troop,
others say an infantry, and others, still,
will swear that the swift oars

of our sea fleet are the best
sight on dark earth; but I say
that whomever one loves is.

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Sappho, famed lyric poet of ancient Greece, was born on the island of Lesbos (b. circa 610 B.C.E.) and spent some time in exile in Sicily. She was leader of a group of young women devoted to music, poetry, and the goddess Aphrodite. Many of her poems are, like this one, addressed to women, and are characterized by both passion and simplicity.

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