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Secrets Of Sappho Of Lesbos

Sappho wrote on the Island of Lesbos which is located in the very blue Aegean Sea. This is far from where I’ve read Sappho in Houston, Texas on the shores of  Buffalo Bayou on its way to the Houston Ship Channel.  

Sappho wrote about 2,600 years ago.

Until recently, the most widely read translation of Sappho was a 1958 edition written by Mary Barnard. However, in 2002 Anne Carlson came out with a new translation. 

People hear the name Sappho and prurient thoughts come to mind. I’d seek to disabuse you of that idea. Sappho ran a clean and wholesome operation.

The main appeal of Sappho for many is that she does not waste a word. This minimalism can for some invoke the image of the bright sun and blue sea of Sappho’s home. It’s a nice thought when stuck in the day-to-day excesses and routines of modern life. 

Sappho’s writings are left to us in fragments. Only one complete poem remains. 

One fragment I enjoy reads– I don’t know that to do/Two states of mind in me.    

Many can relate to that. 

Here is another good one— but I to you as a white goat/And I will pour wine over

What does it mean? I don’t know. Yet it does cause me to imagine some sort of ancient sacrifice or ritual.

Sappho’s poems/fragments can take a person away from the troubles of the moment, while at the same time provoking thought about what she meant.   

January 10, 2007 Posted by | Books | Leave a comment