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Best Famous Sappho Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Sappho poems. This is a select list of the best famous Sappho poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Sappho poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of sappho poems.

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by Sappho | |

To Atthis

My Atthis, although our dear Anaktoria
lives in distant Sardis,
she thinks of us constantly, and

of the life we shared in days when for her
you were a splendid goddess,
and your singing gave her deep joy.
Now she shines among Lydian women as when the red-fingered moon rises after sunset, erasing stars around her, and pouring light equally across the salt sea and over densely flowered fields; and lucent dew spreads on the earth to quicken roses and fragile thyme and the sweet-blooming honey-lotus.
Now while our darling wanders she thinks of lovely Atthis's love, and longing sinks deep in her breast.
She cries loudly for us to come! We hear, for the night's many tongues carry her cry across the sea.


by Sappho | |

Without Warning

Without warning 
as a whirlwind 
swoops on an oak 
Love shakes my heart


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet IV: Why When I Gaze

 Why, when I gaze on Phaon's beauteous eyes,
Why does each thought in wild disorder stray?
Why does each fainting faculty decay,
And my chill'd breast in throbbing tumults rise?
Mute, on the ground my Lyre neglected lies,
The Muse forgot, and lost the melting lay;
My down-cast looks, my faultering lips betray,
That stung by hopeless passion,--Sappho dies!
Now, on a bank of Cypress let me rest;
Come, tuneful maids, ye pupils of my care,
Come, with your dulcet numbers soothe my breast;
And, as the soft vibrations float on air,
Let pity waft my spirit to the blest,
To mock the barb'rous triumphs of despair!


by Mary Darby Robinson | |

Sonnet XXXIV: Venus! To Thee

 Venus! to thee, the Lesbian Muse shall sing,
The song, which Myttellenian youths admir'd, 
when Echo, am'rous of the strain inspir'd,
Bade the wild rocks with madd'ning plaudits ring!
Attend my pray'r! O! Queen of rapture! bring
To these fond arms, he, whom my soul has fir'd;
From these fond arms remov'd; yet, still desir'd,
Though love, exulting, spreads his varying wing!
Oh! source of ev'ry joy! of ev'ry care
Blest Venus! Goddess of the zone divine!
To Phaon's bosom, Phaon's victim bear;
So shall her warmest, tend'rest vows be thine!
For Venus, Sappho shall a wreath prepare,
And Love be crown'd, immortal as the Nine!


by Dorothy Parker | |

Words of Comfort to Be Scratched on a Mirror

 Helen of Troy had a wandering glance;
Sappho's restriction was only the sky;
Ninon was ever the chatter of France;
But oh, what a good girl am I!


by Jennifer Reeser | |

Civilization

 Send your army home to their wives and children.
It is late.
Your soldiers are burdened, thirsty.
Lock the doors, the windows, and here in darkness lie down beside me.
Speak of anything we possess in common: ground or law or sense.
Only speak it softly.
Spiders crawl the crevices.
Violent voices ruin their balance, and they’ll fall – intuit – upon our faces, where I fear them most.
But you’ve heard this terror, and my midnight phobias always move you – cause to remain here.
Leave a light still burning, in some far wall sconce.
Tuck one rebel end of the flat sheet under.
Turn away, self-ruled, to remind me even Sappho was mortal, even Shakespeare, writing of cups and spiders in his winter’s tale.
Send your tin men home, then.
Once I asked your reason to stay.
You said, “Because you’re still with me.


by Bliss Carman | |

I Loved Thee Atthis in the Long Ago

 (Sappho XXIII)
I loved thee, Atthis, in the long ago,
When the great oleanders were in flower
In the broad herded meadows full of sun.
And we would often at the fall of dusk Wander together by the silver stream, When the soft grass-heads were all wet with dew And purple-misted in the fading light.
And joy I knew and sorrow at thy voice, And the superb magnificence of love,— The loneliness that saddens solitude, And the sweet speech that makes it durable,— The bitter longing and the keen desire, The sweet companionship through quiet days In the slow ample beauty of the world, And the unutterable glad release Within the temple of the holy night.
O Atthis, how I loved thee long ago In that fair perished summer by the sea!


by Bliss Carman | |

If Death be Good

 (Sappho LXXIV)
If death be good,
Why do the gods not die?
If life be ill,
Why do the gods still live?
If love be naught,
Why do the gods still love?
If love be all,
What should men do but love?